With Congress in hopelessly, dysfunctional gridlock at this point, we’ve pretty much given up hope that there’s going to be any Medicare “doc fix” before the end of the year, which means that doctors who care for Medicare patients face the very real possibility that their payments will be cut by a whopping 27% come January. We’ve talked plenty on this blog about what patients can do to prepare in case there’s no Medicare “doc fix” by the end of the year, but what does that mean for the docs?
Cutting overhead won’t work. So, how do you give 27% less care? You don’t. You either give 100% care or no care at all. You can’t rush elderly patients in and out of your office and still care for them. You can’t limit yourself to a “one problem per visit” type practice. Caring for the elderly is not a business.
The older a person gets the more complex his care becomes. The older a person gets, the harder it is for him to get to the office in the first place. I can’t imagine telling Mr. Elderly that I can only take care of his sore throat today and that he’ll have to come back in the morning to address his sore hip. And, by the way, he should make an appointment next week for his blood pressure: and, while he’s at it, he might as well make another appointment for his diabetes. Yes, I know it’s winter and there is ice on the sidewalks. “Mr. Elderly, you have enough problems, please don’t fall and break yourself.”
“I’m sorry, Mr. Elderly. I know you have been here 15 times this month. The country is now on the “Great Austerity Program of 2012” and we won’t be able to get to your erectile problem until we resolve your hemorrhoids, depression, ulcers, skin rash, and sleep disorder. Those problems should only take another month or two. Please be patient!”
Yes, my heart is breaking. I’m watching my second love die of Congressional neglect and mismanagement and there is nothing I can do.
Do you think there’s any hope for a “doc fix”? Tell us about it!
- President Obama Signs the Year-Long Medicare “Doc Fix” Into Law; Cuts to Medicare Doctors’ Pay Postponed Again
- Medicare Cuts Payments to Doctors: What It Means to You
- Will Seniors Be Paying for Medicare Soon?
- Senate Passes One Month Medicare “Doc Fix,” House Must Still Approve to Delay Medicare Cuts
- Medicare Enrollment: Does Your Parent Need Help In Choosing a Medicare Health Insurance Plan?