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Citing SGR Cuts, Physicians Mull Dropping Medicare Patients

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, October 26, 2010
  • 54% will likely reduce clinical staff; and 
  • 45% will likely delay purchase of electronic health records systems        

Nearly 30% of practices began reducing the number of appointments for new Medicare patients last spring when Congress failed to avert Medicare payment cuts by the June 1 deadline. Congress temporarily delayed the cuts retroactively.

MGMA's survey shows the uncertainty created by the retroactive legislation has already triggered:

 

  • 37% delayed purchasing electronic health records systems;
  • 32% reduced administrative staff; and
  • 27.5% reduced clinical staff

"The concrete actions already taken by medical groups as a result of the uncertainty created by congressional inaction have added significant barriers to quality care," Jessee said. 

"Uncertainty about the future is creating an unsustainable environment for many who practice in areas with large Medicare populations."

Jessee called on Congress to block the cuts and provide an updated SGR that lasts, at a minimum, through the end of 2011. "This will provide lawmakers and the provider community time to develop a long-term solution that ensures beneficiaries have continued access to quality care," he said.

MGMA conducted its SGR survey from mid-September to mid-October, and received responses from more than 2,860 practices where 63,000 physicians practice.


John Commins is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media.

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