A new report suggests Medicare recipients could have a harder time finding a doctor, unless Congress acts to prevent a 21-percent cut in Medicare reimbursement rates.
Congress approved a six-month fix earlier this year to avoid cuts, but it expires soon. American Academy of Family Physicians President Dr. Roland Goertz says a recent survey of members found many doctors could limit Medicare patients if more extensive changes aren’t made soon.
The survey of 900 doctors found 61.8-percent would stop accepting new Medicare patients if the cuts go into place, while over 72-percent would limit appointment slots for recipients.
Over one million Wisconsinites receive some level of Medicare benefits. Goertz says they would likely still have access to care through major medical providers, but many smaller practices can’t afford to continue with the program if the cuts are made. As a result, he says recipients would face a much longer wait to receive treatment and could have preventative care put off until it’s too late.
The organization is calling on members of Congress to put at least a 12 month extension in place to prevent patients from being cut off. Once that’s done, he says lawmakers and industry experts need to craft a permanent fix to the model used to determine how doctors are reimbursed for treating those patients.