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Physicians Must Act Now or Get Slammed by Medicare Reimbursement Cuts

Nancy Collins

It isn’t too late to contact your state reps. If Congress does not take action over the next few weeks, physician Medicare reimbursements will be cut 4.4% beginning January 1, 2006 and will have nearly 30% in cumulative cuts over the next six years. This effect will have reimbursement rates for physicians at the same levels of the early 1990s!

If Congress does not act, this will be a devastating hit to physician practices. In the medical practice management community we are already seeing evidence of medical practices in bankruptcy. Problems of increasing overhead costs, increasing administrative burdens and increasing liability costs continue to strain practices. Medicare reimbursement is a crucial issue for the viability of many medical practices. If these cuts are enacted, many physicians will choose to cut Medicare services to older patients. Although this may seem like a fix, many other private insurers tie their reimbursements to the Medicare RBRVS system and follow Medicare’s lead. Not really a fix. From a health policy standpoint, won’t this result in elderly patients finding it increasingly difficult to be treated by physicians? Not to mention a drive of patients to already under staffed emergency rooms? Doctors have a huge stake in this issue in Washington.

You need to act now to contact your senators and representatives and health staffers on Capitol Hill. Tell them you are angry with these reimbursement reductions and you won’t be able to implement the government plans for EMRs and quality improvement with these planned reductions in your practice income.

Here are some ways to have your voice heard.

1. Alliance of Specialty Medicine -- Call 1-866-899-4088 and follow the prompts to be connected to your Senators’ and Representative’s offices in sequence.

2. AMA’s Grassroots Hotline at 800-833-6354

Nancy Collins Publisher, The Journal of Medical Practice Management

Greenbranch Publishing