Friday, November 26, 2010

Doctors cutting back on serving Medicare patients

Medicare reimbursement cuts are already “forcing” some doctors to see fewer Medicare patients, and to schedule checkups less frequently, according to a story by N. C. Aizenman today in the Washington Post. The story title is “Doctors say Medicare cuts force painful decision about Medicare patients”, link here.

All of that contradicts my own experience. When I went onto Medicare, I was “forced” to have a complete physical every year, and indeed got a quick hernia repair done (outpatient -- 67 minutes of my life gone!) No, I haven’t done the dreaded colonoscopy yet, nor have I offered my chest to the stress test.

There is some concern that in the past doctors have over-ordered tests out of fear of malpractice, and that specialists are over-compensated in comparison to family practice. In my own case, the family practice doctor’s billed rate ($200 for an appointment physical) is higher than some specialists.

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