Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The (Doc) Fix is in....Or is it?

FoIB Holly R tips us that the so-called "Doc Fix" is in, meaning that (as we discussed over the weekend) providers' fees have once again been spared the axe:

"Congress agreed to a one-month delay in Medicare payment cuts to doctors yesterday, giving a short-term reprieve to a looming crisis over treatment of the nation’s senior citizens."

Except that it really doesn't. Let's ask Kelley Beloff, our resident Medical Office Manager, what this really means:

"What was passed was the extension of the current fee schedule that was supposed to expire today, to go to the end of this year. However, we are still facing a 29% cut on Jan. 1, 2011. That was not in this piece of legislation. While history is not always an indicator, Congress has let cuts go into effect at least 3 times since the cuts were started in the mid 1990's. I am anticipating the cut to go through on Jan. 1, 2011.

As to physicians opting out of Medicare. Now is the time to opt out. In fact I have sitting on my desk the CD with the forms in it to opt out of Medicare. Once the New Year begins, the physician is locked in for another year. So the physician has to ask himself, does he feel lucky, do I opt out on the chance the cuts will go into effect, or do I stay in and hope that Congress reverses themselves. My guess is that physician's will not opt out in the numbers predicted and continue to see Medicare patients, though on a more limited basis

Gee, good news all around.

Thanks, Kelley!
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