Healio Special Report: Health Care and Politics

Healio Special Report: Health Care and Politics

February 09, 2017
2 min read

AAFP urges Trump to reduce some of its regulatory burden

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AAFP’s president sent President Donald J. Trump a letter on behalf of the 124,900 AAFP members, asking the administration to change some of the regulatory tasks family physicians perform, saying these responsibilities take time away from treating patients.

“There is not a single discipline of medicine that faces greater administrative and regulatory burden than family physicians and other primary care physicians,” John Meigs Jr., MD, FAAFP’s letter stated.

John Meigs
John Megis Jr.

He referenced a previously published study that indicated physicians spend about half their time on administrative duties and only approximately a quarter of their time face-to-face with patients.

“Our members are at the frontline of care delivery and are the trusted partners that millions of people rely upon for health and well-being,” Meigs wrote. “Unfortunately, they are facing a regulatory environment that is distracting them from their core purpose and turning them into data clerks.”

The letter was accompanied by what the AAFP called an Agenda for Regulatory and Administrative Reform. Recommendations and suggestions in the four-page document include:

  • reducing prior authorization requirements;
  • having CMS, in all federal programs and demonstrations, use the “core measure sets” created by the Core Quality Measures Collaborative;
  • having documentation guidelines for evaluation/management codes 99211- 99215 and 99201-99205 be eliminated for primary care physicians;
  • having CMS review current portals for obtaining Medicare beneficiary data;
  • holding electronic health record system vendors responsible for the “inadequate design and poor performance” of their products;
  • improving the health information exchange;
  • having CMS delay or completely remove Appropriate Use Criteria Alignment with Merit-Based Incentive Payment System;
  • having HHS foot the bill for the costs associated with practices adhering to translation services; and
  • having CMS streamline programs and use universal criteria regarding “inconsistent” claims.

“We would welcome the opportunity to further discuss our ideas and policy proposals that are aimed at liberating physicians from the time and economic constraints of regulations, thus allowing them to devote more of their time and energy to their true calling — caring for patients,” the letter stated.

The AAFP and other medical groups have also met with lawmakers from both political parties to stress the need to protect patient’s health care. The AAFP was also part of a group of a medical organizations that expressed concern over the President’s travel ban when it was first issued, saying it could hinder access to medical education, health care services, which in turn could affect public health and families.

Further reading:


Disclosure: Meigs is president of the AAFP.