WASHINGTON: The American College of Physicians and it partners wants to draw attention to what they believe is a looming crisis for the US healthcare system: the collapse of primary care.
The association argues that Medicare reimbursement models reward specialists who use costly medical interventions, not primary care physicians who help patients prevent disease.
As a result, internists receive lower salaries and are forced to take on heavier patient loads than their specialist counterparts. The ACP, in its annual "State of the Nation's Health Care" report, has warned that the country will face a shortage of internists as fewer medical students opt to go into primary care.
David Kinsman, ACP senior associate of public affairs, noted that the report is just one component of a media and grassroots campaign to urge legislators to reform payment models.
"It's sort of an unprecedented effort," he said. "We want to go beyond [the policy paper] because we're so concerned with the coming collapse of the medical system."
The group has argued that the collapse would raise healthcare costs, result in lower quality care, and decrease patient satisfaction.
The group last fall enlisted the Board of Governors to author op-eds in their local newspapers. The ACP is also working Vineet Arora, MD, chair of the ACP's Council of Associates, to serve as a spokeswoman. "She's just eloquent and she carries so much credibility because she's at the very beginning of her career," Kinsman said.
Arora is also reaching out to the ACP's membership to let them know that they are being represented on The Hill.
The group is also working with third-party groups, including the American Medical Association, on the effort.
Kinsman noted that the ACP has been "very pleased" with the initial press reaction to its report, which has been covered in The Wall Street Journal, Reuters, The Washington Post, and others.
"It's been all around the world, all around the country," he said. "That media coverage has now been translated into policy [action]."