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Friday Feb 03, 2012

Task Force Finalizing Recommendations to Improve Fee-for-Service

Time for a quick update.

In my Jan. 19 blog post, I told you that the AAFP Primary Care Valuation Task Force would be meeting Jan. 24 in Washington. The AAFP formed the task force last July in response to inadequate payment for primary care services.

At the AAFP Board of Directors meeting in March, Academy leaders will consider recommendations put forth by the task force, which includes representatives from other primary care specialty organizations and others with health care expertise (including Jeffrey Susman, M.D., dean of the College of Medicine at Northeast Ohio University, who is seated next to me in the photo below).

Although I can't offer specifics about the task force's recommendations because the report has not been finalized, it is important to note that many of the recommendations are intended to result in improvements in fee-for-service payments, while others address long-term revision of payment methodology. Improving fee-for-service is critically important not only in the short term but also for the future because fee-for-service values likely will be incorporated into any new payment models.

Some of the recommendations, if approved, would go directly to CMS, and the Academy would encourage the agency to include those recommendations in the physician payment rule for 2013. Other recommendations would require congressional action and would affect the Academy's advocacy strategy.

As a whole, the recommendations represent an excellent opportunity to improve payment for primary care. There's a sense of urgency about changing the way we are compensated for our services, and we recently received good news on that front from WellPoint

Change is needed to maintain and support viable practices, help transform our practices to the medical home model, narrow the payment disparity between us and subspecialists and increase medical student interest in primary care.

I will keep you informed.

 

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The opinions and views expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the opinions and views of the American Academy of Family Physicians. This blog is not intended to provide medical, financial, or legal advice. All comments are moderated and will be removed if they violate our Terms of Use.