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AMA Ads Push for SGR Elimination

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, October 13, 2011

Also this week, AMA said in a letter the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that it wants Medicare to start paying doctors for four types of coordination services because they avoid more expensive patient care in the hospital down the line.

The services include responding to telephone calls seven days or more after a patient sees the doctor, education and training to enable patients to better manage their own health, better management of anticoagulation drugs such as warfarin, and time spent coordinating team-based care when the patient is not present.

Wah says physicians are already paid about 20% below cost for their Medicare patients, and taking further reductions could gravely impact patient access.

That is the theme of an ad campaign that AMA unveiled this month. The two-week long media campaign, which was launched Friday, features 30-second television ads on cable and broadcast television in select markets, along with 60-second radio spots.

The television ads – clearly aimed at Medicare beneficiaries -- show an elderly man floating through the sky hanging on to a few dozen balloons that are popped one-by-one. As he sinks helplessly toward the tree line, his face more alarmed with the descent, a voiceover says: "Medicare keeps many seniors afloat. But Medicare payments to doctors are scheduled to be cut by 30% in January. It means doctors may have to limit the number of Medicare patients they see, or even stop seeing them all together to keep their doors open. Tell your representatives in Washington to stop the cuts and find a permanent solution for Medicare that safeguards healthcare access for America's seniors now and forever."

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