Future of Family Medicine Campaign Launches

The American Academy of Family Physicians is launching a 3-year public relations and lobbying campaign to "tackle issues ranging from payment reform to workforce development," the organization announced. Discussing the plan at his inaugural address to the AAFM Assembly Oct. 22, Robert Wergin, MD, the group's new president, said the slogan for the effort will be "Health Is Primary."

The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) is launching a 3-year public relations and lobbying campaign to “tackle issues ranging from payment reform to workforce development,” the organization announced. Discussing the plan at his inaugural address to the AAFM Assembly Oct. 22, Robert Wergin, MD, the group’s new president, said the slogan for the effort will be “Health Is Primary.”

Former AAFM President Glen Stream, MD, MBI discussed the campaign in further detail at a news conference Oct. 23.

“We believe our country is at a tipping point, with a number of major shifts -- including the Affordable Care Act, the establishment of the patient-centered medical home, and improvements in technology -- that have changed the landscape," said Stream. "We believe these represent an opportunity to truly transform and improve our nation's health."

Former Centers for Medicare and Medicaid director Don Berwick, MD, MPP also addressed the group. He advised it to work to change the system from the inside, rather than letting insurers and other payers do it for them.

The campaign will rely on advertising, efforts to try to get media coverage, and events targeting patients, employers, policymakers and others.

Among its goals for the academy’s members is to help transform practices to adapt to a new environment—one that stresses larger networks connected electronically.

The group will also try to reform payment systems so doctors are paid for the quality, not quantity, of the care they render.

The AAFP also announced it has helped form a new coalition called “Family Medicine for America’s Health.” The venture involves 7 other family medicine organizations. The American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians is also involved.

The project is the culmination of an effort begun 10 years ago by the AAFP, American Academy of Family Physicians Foundation, American Board of Family Medicine, Association of Departments of Family Medicine, Association of Family Practice Residency Directors, North American Primary Care Research Group, and Society of Teachers of Family Medicine.