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Physician groups support comparative effectiveness provisions in proposed legislation

Washington, July 13, 2009 — The American College of Physicians (ACP) today joined with two other physician groups to offer strong support for the Comparative Effectiveness Research (CER) provisions included in the Tri-Committee health reform bill about to be considered in the House. The Tri-Committee, which unveiled its proposed legislation on June 19, is made up of the House Ways and Means, Energy and Commerce, and Education and Labor Committees.

Today’s support was provided in a letter to the chairmen and ranking members of the three committees. The organizations — ACP, the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) and the Society of General Internal Medicine (SGIM) — represent more than 200,000 physicians who treat patients every day, many of whom have multiple chronic conditions.

“We know the value of having scientifically valid information available that permits physicians and their patients to make informed decisions on the most effective and appropriate treatment in individual cases. We also firmly believe that patient care will benefit if coverage decisions are informed by the best available science, including evidence on the clinical effectiveness of different treatments,” said Jim King, MD, FAAFP, board chair of AAFP, Joseph W. Stubbs, MD, FACP, president of ACP and Nancy Rigotti, MD, FACP, president of SGIM

“Comparative effectiveness research brings to the patient and physician the best chance of providing the right treatment to each patient in the most safe and effective manner. We know that better information on which treatments are most effective leads to better patient outcomes, less suffering, and more efficient use of limited healthcare resources. Moreover, we agree with the approach of your bill, which makes clear the importance that this information must be the result of scientifically valid research, emanating from a trusted source and dedicated solely to the development of comparative effectiveness research based on the best available science and through a transparent process,” the letter continued.

“We have great respect for the incredibly hard work your committees have undertaken in the enormous and complex objective of healthcare reform. As the bill moves through the House and eventually into a Conference Committee with the Senate, we urge you to hold fast to your positions on CER that will maintain it as a scientifically-based research initiative designed to benefit patients. CER should not be subjected to arbitrary legislative limits on use that could harm patients by denying them, their physicians, and their health plans with access to the best scientific evidence to improve the care patients receive.”

“Thank you for considering our views. We look forward to continuing to work with you in the weeks and months ahead as you endeavor to provide the American people with a healthcare system, with CER, that will work to their great benefit,” the letter ended.

The American College of Physicians is the largest medical specialty organization and the second-largest physician group in the United States. ACP members include 129,000 internal medicine physicians (internists), related subspecialists, and medical students. Internists specialize in the prevention, detection and treatment of illness in adults.




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