Time for Medicare to Quit Ignoring Primary Care
Klepper, Fischer and author Kathleen Behan make a bold suggestion. Let's quit complaining about the RUC and their flawed methodologies. Let's quit admiring the problem of financial conflicts of interest and the primary care labor shortage. It's time for the primary care specialty societies - The American Academy of Family Physicians and the American College of Physicians (my addition) to pull out of the RUC. Yes, just quit and do it in a public manner.
There would certainly be a negative public relations backlash when a prestigious specialty society says "We're mad as hell and not going to take it anymore". The AMA would have to take notice as would CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services). If the American College of Physicians and the American Academy of Pediatrics would also defend it's primary care physicians, it would send a strong and powerful message. Primary Care has been decimated and the RUC is to blame...pure and simple.
Klepper and Fischer say "We have had two decades of declining reimbursement that has gutted primary care's viability...". We should all care because every modern Nation that exceeds our outcomes for lower cost does so by valuing primary care and supporting it as part of health care policy. If we are really serious about health care reform and bringing costs under control, we first have to build the infrastructure of public health and that is strong, viable primary care for all Americans.