American Osteopathic Association

Advancing the distinctive philosophy and practice of osteopathic medicine

American Osteopathic Association Encourages Swift Action on Newly Introduced Medicare Physician Payment Bill

Media Statement
Feb. 6, 2014

Statement attributable to American Osteopathic Association President Norman E. Vinn, DO

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) — The American Osteopathic Association (AOA), the national professional membership organization for more than 104,000 osteopathic physicians (DOs) and osteopathic medical students, applauds the House Energy and Commerce, House Ways and Means and Senate Finance Committees for jointly introducing meaningful Medicare physician payment reform legislation building upon many months of hard work by bipartisan, bicameral negotiators. The AOA urges Congress to move swiftly to bring the bill to a vote in both chambers. The AOA also expresses gratitude to physicians in Congress for contributing their expertise to this cause.

Once enacted into law, the legislation, known as the SGR Repeal and Medicare Provider Payment Modernization Act, will permanently repeal the antiquated Sustainable Growth Rate formula that is currently being used to determine Medicare payment rates for physicians and replace it with a system that values high-quality patient care.

The legislation will also stabilize payments to physicians who participate in Medicare, eliminate the annual threats of payment cuts, and help to preserve physicians’ ability to provide high-quality care for millions of seniors covered under the Medicare program. The bill also provides incentives to physicians who adopt new and innovative payment models including the Patient-Centered Medical Home, which is a practice model long supported by the AOA.

While this groundbreaking step is encouraging for physicians and patients, the House and Senate must continue their work to advance this bill so that it can be signed into law before physicians experience a cut in payments of more than 20% that is scheduled to take effect on April 1. This will finally move us away from short-term patches to a more stable Medicare system.

To provide patients and physicians an opportunity to express their concerns about this issue, the AOA launched Every Patient Counts, a grassroots advocacy campaign aimed at letting lawmakers know that now is the time to preserve access to health care for millions of seniors by passing meaningful Medicare physician payment reform. The campaign’s website provides educational materials for caregivers, patients, and physicians on the detrimental impact of the current SGR formula, and tools for these stakeholders to contact their lawmakers directly and give a voice to their experiences.

What is a DO?

DOs are licensed physicians who can prescribe medication and practice in all specialty areas, including surgery, in the United States. They complete approximately four years of medical school followed by graduate medical education through internship and residency programs typically lasting three to eight years. In addition, DOs receive extra training in the musculoskeletal system, providing them with an in-depth knowledge of the ways that illness or injury in one part of the body can affect another. As one of the fastest-growing segments of health care professionals in the nation, the number of DOs has grown more than 200% during the past 25 years.

 

About the American Osteopathic Association

The American Osteopathic Association (AOA) proudly represents its professional family of more than 104,000 osteopathic physicians (DOs) and osteopathic medical students; promotes public health; encourages scientific research; serves as the primary certifying body for DOs; and is the accrediting agency for osteopathic medical schools. More information on DOs/osteopathic medicine can be found at www.osteopathic.org.

 

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Contact:

Mike Campea
(800) 621-1773, ext. 8043
mcampea@osteopathic.org

 
 

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