New Bill Addresses Primary Care Shortage

Numerous health care organizations joined U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz May 20 on Capitol Hill to announce a new bill (H.R. 2350) that addresses the shortage of primary care providers in America.

“As we move toward creating a uniquely American solution in which all Americans have access to affordable, meaningful health coverage, it becomes clear that successful health care reform must include primary care reform,” said Representative Schwartz (D-Pa.).

According to a U.S. House of Representatives’ press release, Preserving Patient Access to Primary Care Act of 2009:

  • Establishes scholarship and loan repayment opportunities for primary care providers who serve in areas with critical shortages of primary care services;
  • Creates new residency positions for primary care and general surgery trainees, with more opportunities to train in ambulatory care setting—particularly community health centers;
  • Improves access to primary care for seniors by eliminating copayments for preventive care services in Medicare;
  • Increases Medicare reimbursements for primary care providers; and
  • Establishes Medicare payments for care coordination services, and monthly payments to providers who serve as patient-centered medical homes.

The American College of Physicians (ACP) was one of the many organizations to join the congresswoman and speak on its behalf.

“Primary care is the best medicine for better health and lower costs,” ACP noted in a press release of their own, “and this is the best medicine for curing the growing crisis in primary care.”

Just over 100 members of Congress have already signed on as co-sponsors to the bill.

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2 Responses to “New Bill Addresses Primary Care Shortage”

  1. Michelle says:

    As an office manager for a solo practice primary care physician, the Medicare reinbursement will have to be significantly increased to keep solo practices in business. Currently the .30-.40 on the dollar is increasingly hard on the bottom line and it is no wonder in our area that the majority of solos and about half of the large practices are closed to new assignments of Medicare. Doctors put in HUGH hours to keep their businesses afloat and the reimbursement for primary care is less than that of specialists. Hard to stay motivated when primary physicians have all the referrals to make out for every specialist in our area, lower reimbursement, long hours and increasingly abusive patients that feel intitled to maximum dollar care for small complaints. Our local hospital is now encouraging RNs to go back to school to become NPs and are paying for them to do so anticipating the crush of patients after healthcare goes national. Local doctors are also anticipating the move to nationalized care and are making plans to go into specialties that would be fee for service. That leaves residents and NPs to deal with primary care. This is a sad but true fact.

  2. Sally says:

    I heard the increase for primary care from Medicare would be 5%, which would NOT encourage my physicians to see more Medicare. Sorry, but that’s just not enough!

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