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SHM Sends Letter to Support the Renewal of the Medicaid Primary Care Parity Program


May 12, 2015

SHM's Policy Efforts

SHM supports legislation that affects hospital medicine and general healthcare, advocating for hospitalists and the patients they serve.

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The Honorable Kathy Castor
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington D.C. 20515

Dear Representative Castor:

The Society of Hospital Medicine (SHM) writes to voice support for your introduction of the Ensuring Access to Primary Care for Women & Children Act in the House. Significantly lower payment rates in Medicaid create substantial barriers to patient access to primary care services and we wish to convey our appreciation for your leadership in ensuring that the Medicaid population has consistent access to the full spectrum of high quality primary care services.

SHM represents the nation’s more than 44,000 hospitalists who work predominantly in acute care hospitals, as well as increasingly in post-acute care facilities. They specialize in the delivery of inpatient primary care, which includes a significant number of hospitalized Medicaid patients. Hospitalists are often at the front line of the team of clinicians required to treat many common conditions within the Medicaid population (e.g. asthma, diabetes, heart problems). In addition, for Medicaid patients with severe and complex conditions, hospitalists often provide the first-contact within the comprehensive primary care network this population requires.

This legislation will renew the Medicaid Primary Care Pay Parity Program, which expired in 2014. It will ensure that hospitalists practicing in the specialties of family medicine, pediatrics, and internal medicine receive Medicare-level reimbursement rates for providing inpatient primary care services to patients enrolled in Medicaid.

Studies show that access to the full range of primary care is consistently associated with better outcomes and lower costs. Renewing the increased primary-care payment policy in Medicaid is critical to enhancing this access, including expanding the number of Medicaid patients that practices can see.

We greatly appreciate your leadership and commitment to improving access to primary care for the Medicaid population. SHM looks forward to continued work with you on this important issue.

Sincerely,

Robert Harrington, Jr, MD, SFHM
President, Society of Hospital Medicine