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American College of Rheumatology Responds to Congressional Hearing on Private Practice Challenges

June 24, 2024 | ACR NewsAdvocacy


ATLANTA – The American College of Rheumatology (ACR) has submitted to the United States House Committee on Ways and Means Health Subcommittee a response to the recent subcommittee hearing, The Collapse of Private Practice: Examining the Challenges Facing Independent Medicine, highlighting issues facing private practices, including inadequate reimbursement for Medicare physicians, burdensome prior authorization policies, and the growing shortage of physicians in the workforce.

In its letter, ACR notes that rising inflation, cuts to reimbursements to below the cost of treating Medicare patients and growing operating costs threaten the viability of private practices. To address these concerns, ACR advocates for legislation to address two persistent challenges impacting Medicare payment to physicians: inflation and a mandatory budget-neutrality requirement. The Strengthening Medicare for Patients and Providers Act (H.R. 2474) would add a permanent annual inflationary update for Medicare physician payments, while the Provider Reimbursement Stability Act (H.R 6371) would help to curtail the negative impact of budget neutrality requirements by raising the current budget neutrality threshold from $20 million to $53 million and requiring its regular re-evaluation.

Given the administrative burden created by costly prior authorization policies, ACR noted its support for efforts to streamline the process so that healthcare team members can spend less time negotiating with insurance companies and more time taking care of patients.

Finally, the shrinking physician workforce creates significant challenges across the healthcare continuum. Unless policymakers intervene, the problem will continue to worsen as fewer physicians are asked to meet the treatment needs of a growing and aging patient population. To address this issue, ACR recommends policies to increase training opportunities, address burnout and early retirement in the healthcare workforce, mitigate the impact of medical education debt, and expand workforce access for visa-holding physicians.

“Private practices are essential to our communities and should be supported by policy,” the letter concludes. “The ACR looks forward to partnering with the Ways & Means Health subcommittee as legislative solutions are considered.”

Read the ACR’s full response letter.


Media Contact
Monica McDonald


The American College of Rheumatology (ACR) is an international medical society representing over 9,100 rheumatologists and rheumatology health professionals with a mission to empower rheumatology professionals to excel in their specialty. In doing so, the ACR offers education, research, advocacy, and practice management support to help its members continue their innovative work and provide quality patient care. Rheumatologists are experts in the diagnosis, management, and treatment of more than 100 different types of arthritis and rheumatic diseases.

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