Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Cruel Obamacare

Reimbursement rates are a core element in making any healthcare system work. If doctors don't get paid enough, they have to fire office staff, reconfigure practices, even close their doors. It's a heartrending process for those who have to go through it and it's worst for those office staff employees who, through no fault of their own, end up let go. The worst scenario is the pink slip coming out of nowhere, coming into the holiday season right after you've made a major purchase and drawn down your financial reserves. This is the scenario staring medical office workers in NY and likely across the nation as a New York State Medical Society poll finds that 77% of NY doctors have yet to get a fee schedule, a crucial document that lets doctors and office managers plan out future staffing and whether or not Obamacare is an insurance plan that they can afford to work with. Less than a quarter (23%) of doctors are participating in the exchanges. Existing contracts with insurance companies are forcing three fourths of those who are participating in the health exchanges to take these patients. There is no contractor failure here. This is not a technological glitch. CMS puts out Medicare fee schedules multiple times a year and has been doing so for many years via CD mailers and online downloads. Distributing the ACA fee schedule via the same channel that Medicare fee schedules are distributed would have given doctors a solid basis to proceed and make the staffing adjustments they need to do in order to make this new law work. Instead a majority of doctors are flying blind. This is cruel. This is unnecessary. This is going to negatively impact patient care.