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Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who covered Washington during all or part of ten of America's presidencies and who has edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review, which has been on the web since 1995, is now published from Freeport, Maine. We get over 5 million article visits a year. See for full contents of our site

September 25, 2009


Daily Commercial - Hearts are pumping over proposed Medicare cuts to physician reimbursements for medical procedures. Some cardiologists say a proposed 11 percent reduction in cardiology services could adversely affect a patient's access to quality care and also could increase costs.
Procedures such as echocardiograms, stress tests and cardiac catheterizations could become too expensive for both patients and physicians, they say. . .

"We expect if those cuts are put in place they would severely impact the quality of care that our patients are going to receive," said Rafael L. Mulet, CEO of Cardiovascular Associates of Lake County in Tavares. "We will not be able to provide a lot of services."

The American College of Cardiology opposes the cuts. "These proposed cuts are based on the incorporation of a few esoteric pieces of data into a complex formula," stated Dr. Alfred Bove, president of the college, in a press release. "The focus on this formula completely ignores the very important issues of access that are certain to be created by these huge slashes in payment."

Cardiologists wouldn't be the only physicians affected by the proposed cuts, if they are approved. Specialists such as radiologists, chiropractors and internists would also see a decline in reimbursements for services they provide to Medicare patients. The overall cut to Medicare reimbursements is 21.5 percent.

Those cuts are calculated every year based on the changes in medical practice and the value of services. The Centers for Medicare & Medical Services use a formula to evaluate more than 7,000 procedures and determine how much to cut.

The government currently pays up to $100.27 for a cardiovascular stress test, but under the proposed change the reimbursement for that procedure falls to $61.74. That's not enough to pay for operating expenses, said Mulet. . . The radiation dose administered during the stress test alone costs $300, Mulet said. . .

Every year since 2002 there has been a proposed cut. However, each year Congress has overridden those cuts, opting for a budget increase instead.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The cut to my chiropractor is awful. It amounts to about 23% and he treats an average of 20-25 patients per month. I am sure his office expenses have not gone down. Are you trying to put dc's out of practice?

December 28, 2009 8:39 PM  

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