Medicare patients will find it increasingly difficult to seek care from a neurosurgeon if Medicare's payment formula isn't fixed, according to a new survey released by the profession's trade groups.
Neurosurgeons shunning Medicare, survey finds
The American Association of Neurological Surgeons, Congress of Neurological Surgeons and Council of State Neurosurgical Societies in polling 678 of their members in an online survey, reported that nearly 60% of neurosurgeons were reducing the number of Medicare patients in their practice because of low reimbursement.
Medicare's sustainable growth-rate, or SGR, formula is based on the health of the economy and has been threatening cuts to doctors since 2003. Physicians face a 21.2% cut to their payments at the end of the month unless Congress intervenes as it has in the past to stave off the reductions, providing instead just a modest or no update.
Patients' access to neurological surgical care will be “significantly affected” if Medicare payments continue to be cut, the survey stated.
Nearly 40% of the respondents said that they would decrease the number of new Medicare patients they see, and more than 18% percent said that they would no longer take any new Medicare patients, if Medicare payments continued to decline. In addition, more than half said they would reduce the time they spend with Medicare patients.
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