In his remarks our AMA President William G. Plested,MD addressed the looming Medicare reimbursement crisis with an anticipated cut of the 2007 rates by 6%-20%!!!
He emphatically called upon physicians to act NOW and not to be content with halfhearted solutions. He criticized Pay-for-Performance Measures as attempts solely focused to curb medical expenditures and NOT as an attempt to improve the quality of medical care.
He called upon physicians to adhere to an uncompromising commitment to the principles of medicine, to curb and reject any attempts to further encroach on the practice of medicine and to resist any interference with the physicians-patient relationship.
He urged physicians to embrace medical information technology and to integrate certified EHR solutions.
In his opinion we have to move from a volume-based reimbursement system to an algorithm of quality-based payment modality and calls upon physician to embrace this concept and the voluntary quality reporting system.
In a Q&A session he answered several questions submitted in writing by the HOD delegates focusing on the unfair reimbursement practices that will jeopardize the viability of our medical practices.
In my opinion, Secretary Leavitt does not seem to understand the potential impact of the Medicare cuts and tries to couple increased payments with demonstrated quality of care. He ignores that Baby-Boomers are eligible for Medicare resulting in an increased volume of Medicare services.
Unfortunately, the SGR is still focused on a volume-based reimbursement formula, which is penalizing physicians for seeing more Medicare patients.
The solution may be to freeze Medicare services rendered thereby diminishing access to care for Medicare recipients.
Our AMA has decided to FIGHT BACK.
I urge you to order the "Medicare Physician Payment Action Kit" . You can obtain more information regarding Medicare cuts and suggestions how to address this crisis by visiting our website at http://www.ama-assn.org/ama/pub/category/13409.html .