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, denounces the House's actions today in advancing the "Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014.” By approving a temporary SGR fix, the House chose a fiscally irresponsible path that neglects future generations of seniors.
If signed into law, this bill would enact the 17th short-term patch in 11 years, and undercut the unprecedented progress that has been made toward long-term Medicare physician payment reform. The time has passed for temporary solutions. A short-term patch through March 2015 places patient access to quality care in jeopardy, and pushes this longstanding problem into the next Congress.
The AOA strongly urges the Senate to defeat a temporary patch, and focus on the remaining steps toward enacting permanent Medicare physician payment reform into law. The legislation, embraced by the Senate Finance, House Ways & Means, and Energy & Commerce Committees by Democrats and Republicans alike, offers an improved system that values quality of health care over quantity.
We implore the Senate to place seniors and their physicians first by advancing permanent physician payment reform. In doing so the House and Senate can then, through the conference process, work in good faith to reach an agreed-upon approach to offset the cost of the policy.
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 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) represents 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; is the accrediting agency for osteopathic medical schools; and has federal authority to accredit hospitals and other health care facilities. More information on DOs/osteopathic medicine can be found at www.osteopathic.org.
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