Thursday, December 18, 2008

Physician payment - Primary Care Doctors Seek 10% Bonus over Next 18 Months From Obama Administration

American College of Physicians President Jeffrey Harris sent a letter On December 17 to HHS nominee Tom Daschle asking that the Obama administration’s economic-stimulus package include a 10% pay bonus for all services provided by primary care docs under Medicare for a period of 18 months.

The letter also requests that primary care practices, especially small ones, get a piece of the funding pie for health information technology. Obama has pledged to spend billions of dollars on that endeavor.

The Harris letter says ,in part:

The 18 months when the bonus would be in effect would stabilize funding for primary care practices, especially smaller ones, which are an essential part of the safety net that people rely on for their care, especially in tough economic times. Without funding to stabilize primary care practices, many will go under and have to close. Primary care physicians who own small practices are struggling to survive because of inadequate access to credit, losses in their own investments, slower collections and more “bad debt” and uncompensated care as their patients are unable to pay their bills and the numbers of uninsured increase.

Of the problems of Massachestts patients getting care under the universal coverage plan there, Harris writes,

Providing more people with health coverage doesn’t mean they will have good access to care, when there aren’t enough primary care doctors to take care of them.

Comment: I am sympathetic for the last Harris point, but I'm not confident bailing out primary care would be popular with the public.

2 comments:

Gary M. Levin said...

Interesting information. What is the source for you info about ACP?

Richard L. Reece, MD said...

My source of information is a December 18 The Health Care Blog. This is the best known health care blog and is a reliable source