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Physicians Forecast Hot Winter on Capitol Hill

Joe Cantlupe, for HealthLeaders Media, August 11, 2011

 "I don't see anywhere that the super committee can't deal with the SGR either. Those 12 (super committee members) will be subject to the most intense lobbying effort by everybody who has a stake in this game," Goertz says. "It means everybody and anybody will be going to DC. Every organization is going to be afraid not to be there, for fear of not being heard. It's going to be a very pressure-packed period of time."

One of the problems is that the government is not being responsive in finding ways to reduce healthcare costs, Goertz says.  His organization emphasizes that patient-centered medical homes and related models "have been shown to save millions of dollars," Goertz says. "I'm chagrined why the (healthcare) system isn't moving faster in that direction."

"We need to reduce "public rhetoric or public posturing," he adds."Every physician can tell you about waste that can be fixed. I hope we can get some sort of reprieve."

Physician groups will probably join together to stop funding cuts.  ACEP's Schneider acknowledges each group has its own priorities, but often with overlapping problems. For instance, at least 97% of primary care physicians refer patients daily to the emergency department, according to a poll of 20,000 emergency physicians released by the ACEP in April.  That's because there are too few primary care physicians, Schneider says. And then there are other matters, such as the progress of medical liability reform, which impacts physicians of many specialties, she says.

Those issues were among the reasons why Schneider and her group went to Capitol Hill to begin with, and why they will do so again, with the debt ceiling crisis added to the agenda.


Joe Cantlupe is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media Online.
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