Doctors, Hospitals Frustrated With Medicare Fiscal-Cliff Results

Doctors and hospitals who treat Medicare patients aren’t happy with the Medicare fiscal-cliff resolution, according to Forbes and Kaiser Health News. The agreement may indirectly affect the number of doctors available to treat Medicare patients—and even patient care itself—industry leaders say.

Doctors were scheduled for a payment cut, as they have been over and over again since 2002, but with this fiscal-cliff agreement, Congress once again delayed the cut. Doctors want a permanent solution so they don’t have to face the uncertainty year after year. Not getting that solution, they’re leaving the Medicare program altogether. Forbes reports:

Already, one in five physicians are restricting the number of Medicare patients in their practice and one in three primary care doctors – the providers on the front lines of keeping the cost of seniors’ care low – are restricting Medicare patients, according to a 2010 AMA survey of more than 9,000 doctors who care for Medicare patients.

And then there are the hospitals. Kaiser Health News reports that to offset the delayed physician pay cuts, the new bill requires that “over the next decade, hospitals pick up nearly half of the approximately $30 billion cost. … Groups representing hospitals said the new plans for reductions will hurt their ability to care for patients.”

Have you or your parents had any trouble finding a doctor who takes Medicare? If your parents are planning a move, perhaps this is something to consider since they’ll need to find a new doctor.

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