'Marked departure' in Medicare practice of paying physicians in Geriatric Care Improvement Act

May 9, 2007 (WASHINGTON) Enactment of the Geriatric Assessment and Chronic Care Coordination Act of 2007 (S. 1340) will represent a marked departure from Medicare's practice of paying physicians only for episodic and acute care, the Senate Special Committee on Aging was told today by the American College of Physicians (ACP) in a statement submitted for the record. During its hearing on The Future of Medicare: Recognizing the Need for Chronic Care Coordination, Senators were told about the advantages of realigning benefits and payment incentives to support a comprehensive geriatric assessment.

"Ongoing care coordination for patients with multiple chronic diseases and/or dementia is critical," said ACP President David C. Dale, MD, FACP. "It is essential that the system incorporate several of the key elements of the Patient-Centered Medical Home."

ACP, which represents 120,000 physicians and medical students, is the largest medical specialty society and the second largest medical organization in the United States. Internists provide care for more Medicare patients than any other medical specialty.

ACP strongly believes that Medicare and other health plans should be reformed to advance the Patient-Centered Medical Home, a model of health-care delivery that has been proven to result in better quality, more efficient use of resources, reduced utilization, and higher patient satisfaction. Congress should also authorize a new Medicare benefit for geriatric assessments of patients with multiple chronic diseases and/or dementia and payment of a care coordination fee to physicians who accept responsibility for such patients.

The Patient-Centered Medical Home: A Model for Improving Care Coordination

In March, 2007, ACP, the American Academy of Family Physicians, American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Osteopathic Association released a joint statement of principles that defines the characteristics of a pati

Contact: David Kinsman
American College of Physicians

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