This article appears in the May 2013 issue of Managed Care Contracting and Reimbursement Advisor.
The American College of Physicians (ACP) is calling for a significant change to how healthcare is provided in the United States, particularly with regard to what it says are barriers to a productive relationship between patients and physicians.
"Continued improvement in the healthcare system to expand coverage and reduce unnecessary costs is imperative," said ACP President David L. Bronson, MD, FACP, speaking in Washington, D.C., at the group's annual State of the Nation's Health Care briefing. "Such efforts will not succeed in ensuring patient access to high-quality medical care if the current assault on the patient-physician relationship continues unabated."
Bronson noted that in some ways it is the best of times for U.S. healthcare, because the Affordable Care Act will soon make affordable coverage available to nearly all legal U.S. residents-for the first time in history-accompanied by a record slowdown in healthcare cost increases.
But he also warned of vulnerable patients being left behind in states that refuse to cover their poor under Medicaid; the threat to public health and access if across-the-board budget cuts (sequestration) continue; the continued obstacles to high-quality care created by Medicare's flawed SGR formula; and the unacceptable toll of deaths and injuries from firearms.
A growing shortage of primary care physicians for adults will increase costs and reduce access, he says. And the ACP president noted that many physicians report that it is the worst of times when it comes to intrusions on the hallowed patient-physician relationship.