"This survey demonstrates the serious threat to Americans' access to healthcare that is posed by the current formula for paying physicians to care for the elderly and disabled," said Roland Goertz, MD, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians. "If you ran a business and knew that up to 30% of your customers were going to reduce your payment by 25% or more, what would your business do?"
AAFP membership data show that Medicare patients make up as much as 30% of family physicians' patient population. More than one in
four patients in rural family physician practices areas depends on Medicare for coverage.
The 2010 survey found that among family physicians who maintain their practices, 62% said they may be forced to stop accepting new Medicare patients, and 73% said they would have to limit the number of Medicare appointments because of the reimbursement cuts.
"We have reached a point where all patients—children, their parents, and their grandparents—face the real prospect of losing their doctors," said Goertz. "Medicare—the program designed to ensure that our elderly have access to healthcare—could force the very doctors who care for them out of business. And if that happens, all patients in that community—regardless of their insurance coverage—would lose access to needed healthcare."
Reported by John Commins on November 29.
3 in 4 ED managers report shortage of specialists
Emergency department directors are reporting inadequate on-call trauma coverage, and many report a loss or downgrade of their hospitals' trauma center designations, according to a survey in the journal Academic Emergency Medicine.
"Without adequate on-call surgical coverage, our healthcare system cannot provide for emergency and trauma patients," said Mitesh Rao, MD, lead author of the survey and study: The Shortage of On-Call Surgical Specialist Coverage: A National Survey of Emergency Department Directors.