Healthcare reform outreach groups enlist physicians to help enroll patients

As the implementation of healthcare reform draws closer, outreach groups are turning to physicians to help spread accurate information, MedPageToday reports.

Several advocacy groups and physicians' organizations have launched new resource sites and information campaigns, according to the article. For example, the American College of Physicians (ACP) and the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) both have introduced resource pages to help doctors inform patients about new coverage options.

Meanwhile, Enroll America, a nonprofit that helps uninsured Americans sign up for health coverage, has released a tip sheet for physicians to discuss new options with patients. The group's advice includes simple messaging and steering patients toward the resources to take the next step in enrollment.

Similarly, the Texas Medical Association has premiered its "Hey Doc" campaign, which answers frequently asked questions about the health insurance exchanges. "We want to ensure all Texans understand what the marketplace does and what steps they need to take," the site states.

Patients will naturally look to their physicians to provide an unbiased perspective on the changes in healthcare, according to AAFP President Reid Blackwelder, M.D.

"They're coming to us with sometimes life-and-death issues, and so we're going to be trusted on things like insurance," he told MedPageToday. "We have a really important role as an organization to help get beyond the fear and the uncertainty and the confusion, and try to provide clear resources and facts for our members, as well as our patients."

Although physicians were the most trusted source of information on healthcare reform, an August poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation found only 22 percent of respondents said they got information on the law from them. Instead, respondents said they got most of their information on the law from national media, which were ranked as the least-trusted source of information, FierceHealthcare previously reported.

To learn more:
- here's the MedPageToday article
- check out the ACP resource site
- here's the AAFP resource site
- read Enroll America's tip sheet
- here's the "Hey Doc" campaign site