Important Message From the President of the AAFP:
Now that the health care reform legislation has passed, we must look to the future -- for your practices, for your patients and for yourselves. We consider this legislation a platform upon which to build other needed system changes, as called for in the Future of Family Medicine Project. We are working on additional reforms with Congressional leaders, including increased bonuses to narrow the pay disparity between the family physicians and the sub-specialists, a permanent SGR fix, changing the mechanism for funding family medicine residencies, increased malpractice reform initiatives, and many others.
Whether you are disappointed or overjoyed, we have heard from you and of your views about what the new law means going forward. The AAFP has already begun to provide information for you to use in your practices and with your patients to understand what the system changes mean. For background on the legislation and how it will impact a variety of audiences and issues, go to this new page on the AAFP web site. There you will find a timeline outlining when different aspects of the law will take effect and how you may need to prepare for or take advantage of these opportunities. We will continue to update you on specific issues via email messages, AAFP News Now articles, and other communications.
Regulatory changes will be the next phase and will likely last for two or more years. Be assured that AAFP will continue to shape, monitor, and communicate details of these changes. Examples include how the Innovation Center, which will house the Patient-Centered Medical Home pilots, will shape a new payment methodology for family medicine. The Primary Care Extension Program is another instance of future programs that will be developed to help family doctors, but the current law only sets the framework not the details. Your AAFP leadership has already been in conversations with the Administration and HHS officials about where and when the AAFP may provide the family medicine perspective to these regulations now being developed.
As you know, the AAFP has advocated for health care reform for more than 20 years. The AAFP Congress of Delegates has refined and reaffirmed our health care reform policy over the years and the Board of Directors has implemented that policy. And now, the AAFP will be here to help as you incorporate and put in to practice various facets of the new legislation.
While it may seem a formidable task, we believe family physicians are perfectly poised to lead in a health care system focused on providing the best care possible for the people of the United States. And your Academy is here to help you do just that.
Regards, Lori Heim, MD, FAAFP AAFP President