(Washington) - The efforts and leadership of Senators Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) to ensure access to vital primary care services were lauded yesterday by the American College of Physicians (ACP) and 20 other organizations, representing internal medicine and related subspecialties. A letter sent to the senators applauds them for introducing the Ensuring Access to Primary Care for Women & Children Act, S. 2694, which will extend current-law payment rates under Medicaid for certain primary care and immunization services to at least the level of Medicare through 2016.
"This will help ensure access to vital primary care services delivered by primary care and related subspecialty physicians for many of this nation's most vulnerable citizens," pointed out David A. Fleming, MD, MA, FACP, president of ACP. "It will ensure sufficient payment for primary care services and vaccinations, and to the physician specialties and subspecialties that deliver them, is essential to providing access for the 65 million women, men, adolescents and children enrolled in Medicaid."
This legislation will extend and ensure continued funding of what is often referred to as the Medicaid Primary Care Pay Parity Program under current law. It ensures that physicians practicing in the specialties of family medicine, pediatrics, and internal medicine as well as related internal medicine and pediatric subspecialists continue to receive Medicare-level reimbursement rates for providing primary care and immunization services to patients enrolled in Medicaid
This legislation also includes physicians practicing obstetrics and gynecology as qualified specialists, subject to the eligibility requirement that at least 60 percent of their Medicaid billings consist of primary care services as defined under current law.
The organizations signing the letter are:
American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology
American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases
American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists
American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology
American College of Cardiology
American College of Chest Physicians
American College of Physicians
American College of Rheumatology
American Medical Directors Association
American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation
American Society of Hematology
American Society of Nephrology
American Thoracic Society
California Medical Association
Infectious Diseases Society of America
Joint Council of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology
Renal Physicians Association
Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine
Society of General Internal Medicine
Society of Hospital Medicine
The American College of Physicians is the largest medical specialty organization and the second-largest physician group in the United States. ACP members include 141,000 internal medicine physicians (internists), related subspecialists, and medical students. Internal medicine physicians are specialists who apply scientific knowledge and clinical expertise to the diagnosis, treatment, and compassionate care of adults across the spectrum from health to complex illness. Follow ACP on Twitter and Facebook.