2017-06-08 15:42:07 UTC

AGA Responds to New York Times Opinion Article

June 8, 2017

AGA works hard to ensure the voice of GI is being heard.

AGA President, Sheila Crowe, MD, AGAF, submitted a letter to the editor of The New York Times in response to an opinion article published on June 3, 2017.

To the Editor: Jamie Koufman's opinion article The Specialists' Stranglehold on Medicine on June 3, 2017, wrongly blames the high cost of health care on specialists. She supports her contention with information that is selective or simply wrong. Patients do not fit into neat diagnostic boxes. Often their symptoms indicate a variety of conditions, so primary care physicians refer them to specialists. Our years of extra training help us interpret test findings to diagnose illness and determine how to best care for complex patients. Guidelines aid in determining the optimal treatment of patients, based upon their unique diagnosis. For patients with suspected gastroesophageal disease (GERD), our evidence-based guidelines often call for trans-oral endoscopy. Further, specialists do not determine what services are covered by insurers nor do we set our payment rates. This is done by CMS and commercial payers. The U.S. is facing high health-care costs and a shortage of primary care physicians. The answer isn't for the medical community to blame one another, but to develop solutions together.

AGA is the voice of gastroenterology. We work hard on behalf of our members to make sure that patients have timely access to specialty care. We're committed to publicly supporting the value that specialists bring to the health-care market, and will continue to advocate for gastroenterology and voice our concerns about patient care needs.  

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