Physicians: Nine reforms to improve doc-patient relationships

Interactions with patients must be protected, ACP says

The American College of Physicians (ACP) last week emphasized the importance of patient-physician relationships and outlined a nine-part strategy to strengthen them.

ACP President David Bronson said the group "is very concerned about the unrelenting day-to-day intrusions on the patient-physician relationship." To protect that relationship, the group recommends that:

  • Payment reforms allow doctors to spend more clinical time with patients;
  • Reforms should eliminate review and second-guessing of clinical decisions;
  • Officials should harmonize reporting measures across its quality programs;
  • CMS should help physicians transition to ICD-10;
  • Lawmakers and CMS should reduce administrative barriers, improve bonuses, and increase hardship exemptions to encourage participation in quality reporting programs;
  • The health care system should work with vendors to improve EHR systems;
  • Medicare and private payers should standardize claims;
  • Congress should pass meaningful tort reform; and
  • Authorities should protect physician’s free speech.

In addition, ACP pushed for collective action to reduce gun-related injuries and urged lawmakers to stop impending spending cuts under the budget sequestration.

"These cuts must not stand," Doherty said. "It simply is unacceptable that the political divisions in Washington have caused a recurring series of wholly unnecessary budget impasses that imperil the health and safety of the American people" (Pittman, MedPage Today, 2/21; ACP brief, 2/20).


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