Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Medicare payment reductions worry doctors, patients

clipped from www.baynews9.com

ST. PETERSBURG (Bay News 9) -- March begins with a financial blow for doctors, who are facing a major reduction in Medicare payments.

The 21-percent reduction is the result of what some say is an outdated reimbursement formula from the 1990s. Over the years, Congress managed to waive the deficit reduction measure, but legislators failed to repeal it last week.

"A 21-percent cut is large, and a little shocking," he said. "You have to figure out your practice style or your lifestyle, if you're gonna make a lot less money."

The AMA said the state of Florida's 3 million Medicare beneficiaries already face a shortage of doctors. They estimate that there are only 15 practicing physicians for every 1,000 Medicare patients.

The Obama administration is asking that no Medicare payments be reimbursed for the first 10 business days of March, in hopes that the problem will be solved with the end of the Senate stalemate. 

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