Senator Arlen Specter proposes new amendment to current healthcare reform bill

Senator Arlen Specter (D-PA) today proposed a new amendment to the current healthcare reform bill which will preserve access to care for millions of Medicare patients seen by a medical specialist.

Senate Amendment 3163 would require the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to delay for one year implementation of its decision to eliminate consultation codes for specialists. A survey of its members recently conducted by the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) indicated that if the consultation codes were eliminated four out of five endocrinologists would be forced to drastically reduce or eliminate the number of Medicare patients seen in their practices.

The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) fully endorses the Specter Amendment. AACE has opposed the CMS ruling since it was originally announced. In a letter sent August 26, 2009, AACE cautioned CMS that the result of the ruling "will be a significant reduction in the quality of care received by older Americans when they need it the most." The CMS rule, which goes into effect on January 1, 2010, would no longer allow endocrinologists and other specialists to bill for consultations provided for patients referred to them by primary care physicians.

"The Specter amendment will enable Medicare patients, the major segment of our population that is most vulnerable to serious illness, to continue to have access to specialists," AACE President and Chief of Endocrinology at Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates, Dr. Jeffrey R. Garber said. "It will also give CMS and Congress a chance to critically re-examine this flawed proposal."

SOURCE American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists


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