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December 22/29, 2004

Medical Education and Chronic Disease

Author Affiliations

Letters Section Editor: Robert M. Golub, MD, Senior Editor.

JAMA. 2004;292(24):2974-2976. doi:10.1001/jama.292.24.2975-b

To the Editor: Dr Holman1 described the current shortsightedness of medical education in addressing chronic illness very well but did not address the lack of routine reimbursement, particularly from Medicare, for the activities that are essential to manage chronic disease. For example, physicians ideally should manage patients with chronic disease in part by telephone and e-mail. However, for my own practice, where we have more than 3 years’ experience with a very active patient e-mail communication system, there is no Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) code for electronic physician-patient communication. Even though these codes may develop, I am pessimistic about whether these services will be reimbursed given that Medicare does not currently reimburse for telephone calls despite the existing CPT codes (99371-99373).

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