How Should Doctors Respond to Medicare Pay Cuts?

Are we ready to deal with the outcome of a 26+% Medicare payment cut to doctors?  This most recent article indicates we are heading for this cut again after the New Year.

Internal Medicine of Southwest Florida is under water in this equation as Medicare payments account for well over 80% of revenues. I would welcome my seasoned clients (Medicare beneficiaries) comments on how we are to pay for services if these cuts happen. Remember current law states doctors can’t participate in Medicare and its mandated fee schedule and bill patients more than what the government decides. Dont bother suggesting the obvious which is for us to keep our fee schedule and let the customers pay the difference, that isn’t how socialism works.  So the questions become: 1) Do we opt out of Medicare? 2) If we do will patients want our services at market prices? 3) What are market prices? 4) Do we charge membership fees annually in order to “take orders” on demand?  5) Do we continue to offer all our services as we presently do and if so will customers pay for them out of pocket or will they insist on taking these services out of the office and over to the national reference labs and (better paid) hospital owned radiology centers (or more likely, the emergency room)?
So here we are, Medicare has become an unaffordable health care delivery system for all persons 65 and over in the US. How to we move forward?  I have indicated in numerous pieces over the past couple of years that balance billing seems to me to be the fairest, cleanest and efficient solution  Have you demanded your representatives to buck up and legislate this option? What is America going to do when the doctors have to quit the program (for real)? How fast can we import physicians from other countries who will be willing to now come here for 26+% less pay?

-Raymond Kordonowy, MD

About thedoctorsreport

Dr. Kordonowy is board certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine and has been in private practice since 1993. His group practice is in Fort Myers, Florida. His website is: He earned his degree from the University of Kansas School of Medicine in Kansas City, Kansas and completed his residency as Chief Resident at Orlando Regional Hospital System. As Chief Resident, Dr. Kordonowy was recognized as the Outstanding Resident by the American College of Physicians. He is a member of the American Medical Association, American College of Physicians, and the American Society of Internal Medicine. In December 2005, Dr. Kordonowy became Board Certified in the new field of Clinical Lipidology by the American Board of Clinical Lipidology. Lipidology is the specialty of diagnosis and management of cholesterol and triglyceride metabolism disorders. Cardiovascular disease risk assessment is also part of this specialty. He now serves as president of the Independent Physicians Association of Lee County. He is active in the Lee County Medical Society, the Florida Medical Society , the Florida Lipid Foundation, National Lipid Association and the American Medical Association.
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2 Responses to How Should Doctors Respond to Medicare Pay Cuts?

  1. Judy o'Donnell says:

    Still take Medicare and I’ll pay what you bill me that hasn’t been covered.

  2. Thank you for your input! I whole-heartedly agree with you, Judy. Balance billing would be an excellent treatment for this problem. Hopefully our Congressmen will recognize this and enact this change.

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