About the same percentage of America's doctors accept new Medicare patients today as five years ago, despite a 5.4% reimbursement cut in 2002 and Medicare rate increases of about 1.5% in the subsequent years. Some 72.9% of doctors reported accepting new Medicare patients in 2004-05, statistically unchanged from 71.1% in 2000-01, according to the Center for Studying Health System Change. During the same period, the percentage of primary-care physicians willing to accept Medicare patients grew to 65.3% from 61.7%. The data suggest that a decrease in Medicare patients' access to physicians in the late 1990s has stabilized, perhaps because overall industry dynamics played a larger role than Medicare payment policies in physician decisions about accepting new Medicare patients, the center said. Read the center's report.
Docs not closing doors on Medicare patients: report
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