Huge Medicare Cuts Proposed
Doctors who accept Medicare patients are facing a huge proposed pay cut later this year.
The pay cut, which would effectively mean a 29.5 percent drop in fees, has been proposed by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). In reaching that figure, the agency said it had used a federally mandated formula known as Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR).
It’s not yet clear whether the proposed cuts will be approved. The last time a similar measure was approved was in 2002. But if they go through, the cuts will affect more than one million health care providers, including M.D.s, osteopaths and nurse practitioners.
In addition, the CMS has proposed additions to “telehealth” services – patient communications with practicioners via electronic technology, including the Internet. Any additions to those services wouldn’t take effect until 2013.
The measure would also reward doctors for “more efficient care,” although that change wouldn’t take effect until 2015.
Currently, the total payments from the government to health care providers total an estimated $80 billion for calendar year 2012.