AAFP: Primary care should be a focus of Medicare in the future

September 14, 2012

The American Academy of Family Physicians is asking the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid to adopt several short- and long-term strategies that strengthen the Medicare program through primary care enhancements.

In addition to a call to Congress to repeal the sustainable growth rate formula to stabilize payments to Medicare physicians, the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) is asking legislators to adopt several short- and long-term strategies to strengthen the Medicare program through primary care enhancements.

In a new letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS), the AAFP offers its support to the agency’s plan to create a post-discharge transitional care management code as a short-term payment strategy in its 2013 Medicare physician fee schedule but urges that the code be restricted to primary care physicians.

CMS needs to create parameters for the definition of advanced primary care practices, according to the physician organization, adding that the definition will be critical is CMS decides to provide enhanced payment for primary care services delivered at advanced practices in the future.

AAFP Board Chairman Roland Goertz, MD, MBA, suggests in the letter to CMS that five comprehensive primary care functions be developed for the CMS Comprehensive Primary Care Initiative as a foundation for any Medicare advanced primary care practice program.

The final rule on the 2013 Medicare physician fee schedule is expected to be released in November.

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