American Academy of Family Physicians Report Recommends U.S. Health Care System Reforms
The Unites Stated should establish a universal health coverage system and a central database of recommended clinical practices, according to a report released on Tuesday by the American Academy of Family Physicians, USA Today reports. The report, which includes a number of recommendations, is part of an AAFP project launched in response to concerns from physicians and patients who maintain that managed care has forced family practice physicians into "gatekeeper" roles. AAFP hopes that the recommendations will help reform clinical practices among family practice physicians, as well as medical education and the U.S. health care system. Under the recommendations, patients would have a "personal medical home" and could meet with physicians, nutritionists, psychologists or health coaches in one visit. In addition, physicians would use electronic medical record systems, and patients could ask physicians questions online or attend group meetings with other patients who have similar medical issues. Dr. James Martin, a family practice physician who led the project, said that the recommendations highlight "where the U.S. health care system needs to go." John Bucholtz, a physician who co-authored the report, said that he hopes the recommendations will lead to a new system of care that helps physicians and patients, adding, "Otherwise, it's just a bunch of Band-Aids on a broken system." The American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics and AARP have said that they support the recommendations.
However, some opponents maintain that some of the recommendations, such as a universal health coverage system and a central database of recommended clinical practices, are "too expensive," USA Today reports. Hoangmai Pham, a senior health researcher at the Center for Studying Health System Change, said that the report does not address how to pay for the recommendations. A spokesperson for AAFP said the group plans to release a second report later this year that includes such information (Szabo, USA Today, 3/31). The report is available online.This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.