Over on Shrink Rap News, Roy wrote a post about proposed Medicare cuts. He continued the conversation here on Shrink Rap.
I want to expand on the discussion in what I hope will be easy-to-understand terms. Why would anyone who is not a doctor even care what Medicare reimburses their docs? Let me tell you why you might care.
Doctors all have one of four designated categories within the Medicare system:
1) The doc participates and accepts Medicare assignment. The fee for the service is set by Medicare, the patient makes a co-pay and the doctor bills Medicare and gets the rest of the fee from Medicare.
2) The doctor is “non-participating” –which is a deceptive term, because non-participating docs are within the Medicare system. The fee for the service is set by Medicare and is typically 5% less then the fee for participating docs, but the patient pays the Medicare fee in full to the doctor, the doctor files a claim with Medicare, and Medicare reimburses the patient for a portion of the fee.
3) The doctor has formally opted-out. In this case, Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Shrink Rap*
Big news from Down Under: the Sydney Morning Herald reports that a group of fifty consumer health advocates has unanimously backed an “opt-out” process for enrollment in electronic health records, reversing their previous position.
The issue is whether by default all patients have an EHR. “Opt-out” means you’re in by default – your records will be stored electronically – and you can opt out if you want. “Opt-in” means you do not have an EHR unless you specifically ask for one.
The group, the Consumer Health Forum, cites evidence from the neighboring country of New Zealand, in which Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at e-Patients.net*
It’s no surprise that hospitals are acquiring cardiology and primary care groups groups in droves lately. It seems there’s a signficant financial incentive to do so for now, but doctors (and especially cardiologists) should read the tea leaves ahead. From Becker’s Hospital Review:
While hospitals are limited to paying fair market value for practices, they can gain an edge over competing hospitals by offering longer employment contract terms or better electronic medical record systems and management services. If hospitals move forward with a transaction, Ms. Kaplan suggests they limit employment contracts to no more than two years if possible and rebase compensation annually based on productivity.
“In healthcare you shouldn’t assume anything is permanent,” says Ms. Kaplan. She cautions that the revenue increases that are currently available to hospitals through expanding outpatient cardiology services may not last forever, which is why she urges hospitals to limit employment contracts and other agreements to only a few years. Doing so will afford an “out” for the hospital if the service line goes from a money-maker to a money pit.
-WesMusings of a cardiologist and cardiac electrophysiologist.
*This blog post was originally published at Dr. Wes*