Two faces of Eve: CMS payment cuts and MU

Posted on June 30, 2011 I Written By

Dr. West is an endocrinologist in private practice in Washington, DC. He completed fellowship training in Endocrinology and Metabolism at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Dr. West opened The Washington Endocrine Clinic, PLLC in 2009. He can be contacted at doctorwestindc@gmail.com.

Let’s get real for a moment, shall we?  I just read a post about the AHA blasting CMS for supporting payment cuts to help balance the budget.  At the same time, CMS is offering all of this “free” money in the form of incentive payments for incentivizing doctors to buy expensive electronic medical records systems to get an extra $2 per $100 billed.  So is CMS interested in giving doctors more or less?  I’m a bit curious here, as I’m sure many others are as well.

Let’s see.  In January 2012, the SGR formula for payment reductions to doctors will cut off 29%, or $29 per $100 billed.  If you add back $2 per $100 billed, you get a net loss of $27 per $100 billed by doctors.  Even if you get $44K back from CMS over 4-5 years, this would really only cover the cost of setting up the EMR equipment, if that.

Although most of my patients are pretty tuned-in and tell me how much they understand “completely” why I am opting out of Medicare as of tomorrow, July 1, I still periodically get a few questions from other patients, asking, “What’s so bad about Medicare?”  Maybe I’m nuts, but in my mind this really makes a statement about the different levels of enlightenment out there among the general public regarding why some doctors are opting out of Medicare these days.

Dr. West is an endocrinologist in private practice in Washington, DC.  He completed fellowship training in Endocrinology and Metabolism at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Dr. West opened The Washington Endocrine Clinic, PLLC, as a solo practice in 2009.  He can be reached at doctorwestindc@gmail.com.