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Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Don't Get Cancer, Grandma!

Don't get cancer, Grandma, 0h, and don't have a heart attack, either. Why, well medicare is slashing it's payments to cardiologists and oncologists next year, that's why. The Wall St. Journal has a nice piece on the issue today.

EKG's and stress tests will have their reimbursement rate cut by 42%, and cardiac catheterizations by 24%. Oncologists are seeing similar cuts, with radiation treatment getting a 44% whack.

This has nothing to do with health care reform legislation, this is just next years Medicare reimbursement rate. If the Senate finance version of reform passes, those specialists will see even bigger cuts in their future reimbursement rates.

Jack Lewin, head of the American College of Cardiologists figures this years cuts will drive many doctors out of business, or force seniors to the back of the line for treatment.

Considering Medicare pays about $0.83 on the dollar to doctors as is, cutting some rates by 44% means they are asking doctors to provide services for less than half the actual rate they charge private insurance patients. Good luck getting that stent, stress test, or radiation treatment.

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