Friday, Dec. 21 2012 5:14PM
Physicians facing more cuts
Physicians practice medicine to treat and heal patients and each of us
swears an oath to do all that is medically possible. However, Congress
must acknowledge an essential aspect to the practice of
medicine-physicians must also maintain a business. Without a financially
stable Medicare program, we will be forced to make some difficult
decisions regarding Medicare patients.
Because of a flawed formula used to calculate how physicians are paid
under Medicare, physicians are facing severe cuts for the tenth year in a
row; 26.5 percent on Jan. 1, 2013. Hundreds of thousands of physicians have
called on Congress to replace this formula with a system that takes the
economics out of the physician-patient relationship. Decisions should be
based on need and diagnosis – not the bottom line, yet the band-aid
approach by Congress threatens the stability of the Medicare program and
puts access to care at risk.
Physicians are the foundation of our health care system. We not only
provide care to our patients, but we serve as their advocates and
facilitate health care services on their behalf. All physicians value
this responsibility. However, at some point economics take hold. The
costs associated with providing care have surpassed payments for services
for many physicians – especially those involved in general internal
medicine, family medicine and general surgery. As a result, they must
constantly evaluate their participation in Medicare, Medicaid and Tricare.
We are all faced with making difficult decisions, but whether or not to
treat a patient because of this flawed formula should not be one of them.
Kevin P. Hubbard,