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GOP Doctors Caucus Push to Penalize Small Practices Is Bad for Patients, States the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS)

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TUCSON, Ariz., Aug. 01, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Today, the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) asked GOP Doctors Caucus chairs, Rep. Phil Roe and Rep. Andy Harris, to rethink their support for trapping more small, independent physicians' practices in Medicare red tape in order to increase the incentive payments to large practices.

The AAPS letter reads in part:

"On behalf of thousands of independent physicians and their patients, we are writing to ask you to reconsider your requests to CMS, made in a letter to Administrator Seema Verma on July 3, 2018.

"The Doctors Caucus has in the past supported policies that cut red tape for patients and physicians, so we were surprised and disappointed to see a move in the other direction.

"In particular we disagree with your statement that ‘the low volume thresholds are too high' and your call for CMS to ‘incentivize more significant and meaningful participation in MIPS [Merit-based Incentive Payment System] by adjusting low-volume thresholds adequately.'

"The growing consensus is MIPS is broken. Even the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC), by a 14 to 2 vote, is calling for MIPS to be repealed, and stated that the program ‘replicates the flaws of prior value-based purchasing programs' and is ‘burdensome and complex.'

"…We encourage you to read an article by Dr. Kristin S. Held [on reasons for repealing MIPS]….

"Expanding MIPS participation will disproportionately harm small practices. CMS's original estimates were that 87% of solo physicians will be penalized under these new rules, while 81% in giant groups earn bonuses. One former HHS official admitted that MIPS will be ‘financial suicide' for independent doctors. Why punish small-physician-owned practices, when they are already proven to deliver lower cost high quality care?

"Past HHS Coordinator for Health IT, Farzad Mostashari, M.D., writes, ‘recent evidence suggests that small, physician-owned practices, while providing a greater level of personalization and responsiveness to patient needs, have lower average cost per patient, fewer preventable hospital admissions, and lower readmission rates than larger, independent- and hospital-owned practices.' (Ann Fam Med. 2016 Jan; 14(1): 5–7)….

"Instead of encouraging CMS to tie up more physicians and patients with MIPS red tape, we ask that you look at ways Congress can free them from being trapped in government programs that are headed towards bankruptcy…."

The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) is a national organization representing physicians in all specialties, founded in 1943.

Contact: Jane M. Orient, M.D., (520) 323-3110, janeorientmd@gmail.com

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