And the alternative is not an attractive picture either...to bill patients for the difference between what Medicare pays and the office charges...BD
“The general consensus is we’re getting pretty close to the meltdown stage,” Jessee said. “This has all the makings of a perfect storm.” “These people are wonderful to take care of, but you don’t get paid for what you do,” Irvine said. “I don’t blame (doctors) who won’t take Medicare.”
The octogenarian is covered by Medicare, the federal health insurance program for the elderly, so the Morissettes thought it would be a simple matter of making a phone call and scheduling an appointment. Instead, it turned into a painful lesson in the harsh realities of health care economics in America. We called the Corvallis Clinic because thats where most of us are seen, said Dan Morissette. They basically said, No, were not going to take Medicare patients.
Morissette’s father-in-law did get in to see a doctor, but it took nearly a month. The whole experience left the family feeling shaken.
Maybe so, but turning away Medicare patients is becoming an increasingly common response to the federal program’s low reimbursement rates — and the problem could be about to get a whole lot worse.
“The alternative would be we could see Medicare patients, accept the reimbursement for what Medicare pays and then balance-bill the difference, which would be significantly more,” Perry said. “Then (the patient) would not have the ability to pay, and then we would have the responsibility of trying to collect — and that would be unfortunate.”
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