The cardiologists did that earlier this year, when the American College of Cardiology sent out news releases featuring local doctors and practices that were in deep trouble, and would continue to be if the 21 percent cut—plus another one that the government did enact at the first of the year—took effect. There were the familiar threats to cut services, reducing staff, and so on.

Whatever the outcome in Congress this week, the AMA is displeased, and its new president, Cecil Wilson, is sounding tough. That could mean a heightened interest in using the media. But before news outlets send their reporters out to do any more single-sourced “woe is me” doctor stories, why not give our suggestion a try. Once the docs get their increase—and possibly more down the road—call up some of them and ask what steps they’ve taken to bring back their patients. If they’ve taken some, that’s one story; if they haven’t, that’s quite another.

Trudy Lieberman is a fellow at the Center for Advancing Health and a longtime contributing editor to the Columbia Journalism Review. She is the lead writer for The Second Opinion, CJR’s healthcare desk, which is part of our United States Project on the coverage of politics and policy. Follow her on Twitter @Trudy_Lieberman.