MMS Joins AARP in Urging Congress to Preserve Seniors' Access to Care

Statewide Tele-Town Hall Draws 10,000 Seniors

Contact: Richard P. Gulla
Tel: 781-434-7101
E-mail: rgulla@mms.org

Waltham, Mass. -- December 3, 2010 -- Massachusetts Medical Society President-Elect Lynda Young, M.D. this morning joined an AARP Massachusetts Tele-Town Hall Meeting focusing on protecting seniors access to health care, part of wide-ranging national and local efforts in urging Congress to fix the flawed payment formula used to reimburse physicians for treating Medicare patients.

More than 10,000 AARP members across the state participated in the one-hour conference call, conducted by AARP Massachusetts and hosted by AARP State Director Deborah Banda.

Dr. Young told the participants that "I believe I speak for all doctors when I say our goal is to make sure your doctor is there to take care of you, and that you get the care you need. Cuts to Medicare threaten that, but I believe that by working together, we can be extremely powerful."

Ms. Banda said the purpose of the call and other advocacy efforts is "to stop Congress from driving doctors out of Medicare. We must send a strong message to Capitol Hill that seniors have earned their Medicare."
AARP, the nation's largest advocacy group for seniors, has been a staunch ally of physicians in trying to preserve access to care for seniors. AARP Massachusetts has been particularly active, joining with MMS in advocacy efforts and authoring letters to the editor and opinion pieces for newspapers across the Commonwealth. AARP is urging seniors to contact their elected representatives to stop the cuts and work toward a permanent solution.

If Congress takes no action, physicians will see cuts of some 30 percent in their Medicare reimbursements beginning in January. That has prompted fears that some physicians may stop seeing Medicare patients.
The flawed Sustained Growth Rate formula has been a problem for physicians for nearly 10 years, with Congress each time implementing a last-minute fix. This year alone, Congress has had to apply a fix five times. MMS, AARP, and others are urging a one-year delay in cuts to allow time to find a permanent fix.

More information is available at a special AARP website, www.aarp.org/keepmydoctor

The Massachusetts Medical Society, with more than 23,000 physicians and student members, is dedicated to educating and advocating for the patients and physicians of Massachusetts. The Society publishes the New England Journal of Medicine, a leading global medical journal and web site, and Journal Watch alerts and newsletters covering 13 specialties. The Society is also a leader in continuing medical education for health care professionals throughout Massachusetts, conducting a variety of medical education programs for physicians and health care professionals. Founded in 1781, MMS is the oldest continuously operating medical society in the country. For more information please visit www.massmed.org, www.nejm.org or www.jwatch.org.

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