The physicians’ proposed fee schedule issued by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) for 2012 includes approximately 30% payment reduction in Medicare payments. If the proposed Medicare cuts become a reality, it may result in the primary care physicians, both government employed as well as private physicians, withdrawing from Medicare, as it is bound to turn the odds against them in terms of financial feasibility.
This will ultimately affect the end users i.e. the patients, particularly the senior citizens as their access to physicians is likely to reduce. A large number of physicians are looking forward to a permanent solution for this problem which can be achieved through the proper implementation of sustainable growth rate (SGR) factor.
With the inevitable incorporation of latest regulation such as EHR, PQRS, and ePrescribing in the healthcare scenario, the role of primary care physicians is set to be even more pertinent and active, putting more burden on them. This might further aggravate the situation envisaged by the proposed 30% Medicare cuts.
The physicians need to gear up to face this challenge of payment cuts by making their system more efficient. They can hire experts to handle their revenue cycle in order to concentrate more on their core competencies like patient care and research. These experts can optimize physicians’ billing and coding process to enhance their reimbursement cycle. This will definitely go a long way for physicians to sustain their business profitably even after the Medicare cuts.