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ACP Issues Annual State of the Nation’s Health Care Address

ACP’s annual State of the Nation’s Health Care address, issued on Jan. 22, includes sweeping policy proposals to advance patient-centered primary care.

In the 2006 address, ACP reported that the U.S. health care system is facing a collapse of primary care medicine. Very few new physicians are going into primary care and many of those currently in practice are leaving the field or are planning to retire in the near future. The result of this collapse of primary care will be higher costs, lower quality, diminished access and decreased patient satisfaction.

The 2007 address proposed a solution to this looming collapse: a patient-centered health care system. Patient-centered health care builds upon the relationship between patients and their primary and principal care physicians and supports the systems needed to achieve better results.

Many U.S. physicians already are providing some of the characteristics of patient-centered care, but few provide all of them, said ACP President Lynne M. Kirk, FACP. In comparison, many other industrialized countries have made a deliberate policy decision to build their health care systems around patient-centered care, and physicians in those countries are far more likely to report that they have all or most of the characteristics associated with patient-centered care.

Dr. Kirk went on to address the need for patient-centered care to be available to all Americans, not just all insured Americans. She emphasized ACP’s belief that immediate steps must be taken to expand health insurance coverage, with the goal of providing coverage to all Americans.

The recommendations include paying physicians on a risk-adjusted, bundled and prospective basis for providing patient-centered care through a qualified medical home, instead of paying doctors solely on the volume of services billed. ACP also released a legislative roadmap for implementing the College’s recommendations, which will be the basis for discussions on Capitol Hill.

The complete recommendations can be found here.

Source: ACP Observer Weekly