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Former ACP President: 'We Have to be More Efficient'

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, April 19, 2013

HLM: I understand that an awful lot of doctors are aging, and may not be on board with some of these changes. What do you say to them?

DB: Everything's a tough sell for a doctor who doesn't want to change.

HLM: A few years ago, we were hearing some scary stories about the shortage of doctors, especially as more people would be insured, and baby boomers would start needing more medical attention. Is this still the case?

DB: The supply of doctors has increased. The number of residency positions in medical schools has increased, mostly because of private funding. But there's going to be a need for more physicians.

HLM: Internists can expect a pay raise of 4%, which includes 3% for transitional care management services. So that's a good sign that primary care is being recognized.

DB: Yes, and hopefully soon, [the federal government] will implement the provisions of the ACA that raise payment for Medicaid patients' evaluation and management services so it is equivalent to what we're paid for taking care of Medicare patients. It varies from state to state, but in some states, it could be almost a doubling, from $40 to about $70. It's going to be the difference between losing money and being able to cover your costs.

This, of course, is being done to assure there will be enough physicians to care for the expanded numbers of Medicaid patients next year.

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