On March 12, I met with several of our congressional representatives, senators and staff on Capitol Hill to discuss three very important health care reform issues:
•Fixing Medicare physician payments. Without congressional intervention this year, physicians will face a 20 percent Medicare payment cut in 2010. These cuts are unsustainable for many physicians.
•Alternative Medicare payment options for physicians. Options under consideration – the medical home, bundled payments, gain-sharing and pay for performance – may result in barriers to needed specialty care.
•Allergist/immunologist work force issues. Although the demand for allergists will increase 35 percent by 2020, the supply of allergists is expected to decline. Increased federal funding is needed to avert a crisis in the treatment of allergy and asthma.
We focused on patient access, and quality and value of care. This is a critical time in our country for health care reform and it is important we do it right.
Richard G. Gower, M.D.
President, American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology