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Of Interest

How healthcare providers make, spend, borrow and invest money.
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By Melanie Evans

Mayo vs. Medicare: an update

1:15 pm, Jan. 20

The Mayo Clinic stopped accepting Medicare at its five-physician practice in Glendale, Ariz., two years ago. Officials said at the time they would analyze financial results of the move early this year.

No results yet. Mayo spokesman James McVeigh said in an e-mail: “Our plan is to continue to study the program, collect data and review the impact on our patients.”

Mayo officials, who were unavailable at deadline, need more time to analyze how the Arizona clinic's decision to drop Medicare affected its finances, patient satisfaction and the overall number of patients, he said.

Mayo officials faulted Medicare for the move when they first announced plans to stop accepting the insurance.

“Mayo Clinic in Arizona loses a substantial amount of money every year due to the reimbursement schedule under Medicare, a loss we cannot continue to sustain,” the health system said on its news blog. “The discrepancy between what Medicare pays and our cost of providing services is particularly acute for our primary-care practices.”

Mayo also told the Bloomberg news service the clinic's finances would be examined under the pilot “to see if it could have implications beyond Arizona.”

Mayo Clinic operates in Arizona, Iowa, Florida, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

The clinic has made no plans to expand a policy of no Medicare from the single Arizona primary-care clinic, McVeigh said.

“At the outset of this program, we were looking at a number of different issues but had never made any plans to expand the Medicare opt-out program beyond this small, five-physician family practice in Glendale,” McVeigh said, “and that has not changed.”

Nor does the clinic plan to use results of the pilot, once analysis is complete, to consider expanding the no Medicare policy beyond Glendale “at this time,” he said.

You can follow Melanie Evans on Twitter: @MHmevans.

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