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Old 06-30-2008, 08:41 AM   #1
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Default Bush administration freezing cuts in Medicare fees

AP - The Bush administration said Monday it is freezing a scheduled 10 percent fee cut for doctors who treat Medicare patients, giving Congress time to act to prevent the cuts when lawmakers return from a July 4 recess.

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Old 07-09-2008, 05:54 AM   #2
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Docs Bailing Out of Medicare, Medicaid...

Doctors Dumping Medicare and Medicaid
July 8, 2008 - Plummeting Reimbursement Rates Have Some Doctors Looking for a Way Out
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For the past four years, Dr. Heather Tipsword has owned a family practice clinic that primarily treats Medicaid and Medicare patients in Oklahoma City. As many of her friends and family were looking forward to Fourth of July celebrations this past weekend, Tipsword was anxiously looking forward to another event altogether: Congress' meeting on the Monday after the holiday weekend to discuss some kind of fix to the scheduled 10.6 percent Medicare reimbursement cut.

To Tipsword, this round of Medicare reimbursement cuts, to become effective July 15, could make or break her family practice. (In many states, these cuts affect Medicaid too.) "I have struggled to build up my practice, but my outlook gets worse each year," Tipsword said. "The current round of Medicare cuts -- which will cut my repayments, which are miniscule right now -- as well as increasing malpractice insurance coverage, despite an A+ rating, makes it less feasible for me to continue practice."

However, the meeting yielded no short-term fix for the problem, and by the end of the session it was clear that the 10.6 percent cut would likely go through anyway. Now, Tipsword says she is working on an exit strategy from the program. At times, the bureaucratic demands of the job make her consider going even further. "Due to all the daily headaches of practice -- referrals, endless duplicate paperwork to prove medical necessity, phone calls, documentation, etc. -- I would honestly love to get out of medicine altogether," she said.

More ABC News: Doctors Dumping Medicare and Medicaid
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Old 07-10-2008, 08:33 PM   #3
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Doctors not gonna get short-changed...

Doctors, Patients At Ease After Senate Vote
Thursday, July 10, 2008 - Doctors and patients worried about pending cuts in Medicare treatments are resting easier tonight after the US Senate voted yesterday to eliminate reductions in Medicare reimbursments to doctors.
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Physicians at the Missouri Heart Center have had to change the way they welcome patients. The potential Medicare cuts have put pressure on them to reconsider the number of Medicare patients they can see. "Right now in Columbia, it's difficult to find a primary care physician to see a new Medicare patient, cause they're limiting the number of those patients because the reimbursements is not enough to cover the cost," explained Medicare physician Dr. Jerry Kennett.

The Senate did pass a bill that would stop the cuts from going into effect July 15th, but at Columbia's Senior Center, there were some people that did express some concerns about the cuts. "There may be a time where the primary physician will say, Medicare doesn't pay me enough, so I'm going to collect from you, and then you can collect from Medicare whatever you can get," said Medicare patient Thelma Cester.

The Senate's bill to stop the cuts must still go through President Bush, who's said he opposes it. That could mean doctors and patients will have to get ready for cuts all over again. The American Medical Association reports 60 percent of physicians nationwide would limit the number of new Medicare patients if the cuts went through.

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