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84% of Physicians Polled will have to Stop Seeing Medicare Patients if Reimbursement Cuts Pass

Posted Mar 03 2010 12:00am

/PRNewswire/ -- Sermo (http://www.sermo.com/), the world's largest online community for physicians, today announced physician reaction to the Medicare cuts effective March 1st, 2010. Nearly 1,500 physicians participated in an online poll and discussion measuring how they will respond to the reimbursements cuts. Of the respondents, 84% said they will have to stop seeing new Medicare patients, stop seeing all Medicare patients or consider closing their practices altogether.

This cut in reimbursements will dramatically impact both the physicians providing care and the patients. As one Oncologist noted, "Ultimately, it's the patients who will suffer."

Many practices, private and group, will be opting out of Medicare as of March 1st. One Family Practice Physician said, "My primary care group (the largest in our county) will stop accepting new Medicare patients Monday, and if the cuts stick, terminate care for 25-50% of the existing patients and require all new patients with commercial plans to sign up for our retainer offering. We have a leaflet ready explaining the reasons why and how to contact our Congressman and Senators."

Many physicians explained they simply cannot make up for the declining payments by increasing volume of patients seen. For some practices, the bulk of the physician's patients are on Medicare/Medicaid. One Doctor of Osteopathy shares, "Medicare makes up about 50% of my practice. I cannot afford to stop seeing them all together right now. Either way I will have to significantly change my practice to reduce overhead to survive the cut."

Physicians are particularly disillusioned by what they believe is Congress' attempt to control the practice of medicine. One surgeon writes, "The government cannot be allowed to legislate that we take on unprofitable endeavors. It is time for all physicians to take a stand for a fare wage." A Dermatologist added, "Medicare needs to get out of the price-fixing business."

To view the full discussion and polling results, visit the Sermo Blog at http://sermo.com/blog. The Sermo Blog (www.sermo.com/blog) highlights the most vibrant discussions happening. Discussions on Sermo are physician-initiated and cover topics ranging from medical ethics & practice management to challenging clinical cases. All physicians on Sermo are verified as licensed in the US.

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