AMA: Swift Congressional Action on SGR 'Critical'
One example is San Antonio breast surgeon Kathryn A. Wagner, MD, who stopped taking Medicare patients six months ago, just before Congress took similar action to delay the SGR pay cut until Dec. 1. Luckily, Wilson said, Wagner was able to reverse that decision, after the effective date of the SGR was postponed. But "she will have to make severe changes to her practice because she simply cannot sustain that huge of an across-the-board cut" if Congress fails to postpone a decision again.
The AMA says that about 1,000 people answered a survey that the organization posted on its website indicating that 94% of Americans believe scheduled physician pay cuts are a serious concern that could affect their ability to get care. And 98% of those who said they are seniors said they were worried, Wilson said.
In its current campaign, the AMA says it is "pulling out all the stops." It is purchasing full-page ads in national newspapers and sending fliers for physicians to place in their waiting rooms. The flyers urge Medicare patients and their loved ones and military families who depend on TRICARE, which is tethered to the Medicare fee schedule, to urge their elected representatives to take action.
The flyers read: Medicare and TRICARE patients: Protect your access to healthcare. Demand that Congress fix Medicare."
Wilson said he fears that many doctors have already made their decision. "We are now in the Medicare enrollment season for physicians...the one time of year that physicians must decide whether they will participate in Medicare next year."
Cheryl Clark is senior quality editor and California correspondent for HealthLeaders Media. She is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists.
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