Proposed Medicare Physician Fees' Winners and Losers
Lee Hilborne, MD, past president of the American Society for Clinical Pathology, whose independent labs are being cut 26%, and whose 15,000 pathologists will receive on average 5% less, says the organization will likely fight the cuts.
"We first need to understand the rules, and make sure that the value of pathology and lab services are adequately addressed," Hilborne says, adding that laboratory services provide answers in test results that make up 75% of the information that drives clinical decision making in diagnosis.
"If we get to the point where laboratories cannot provide the service, that's not really going to be in the interest of quality," he says. "If you're told you're going to be paid less, the gut reaction is that the system doesn't value us as much as it did before, but in fairness, it's important that we understand how this all came about."
The schedule includes these increases and decreases for numerous allied health professionals:
Clinical psychologist +3%
Clinical Social worker +3%
Nurse anesthetist and anesthetist assistant +4%
Nurse practitioner +1%
Optometry – no change
Oral/maxillofacial surgery (2%)
Physical/occupational therapy + 1%
Physician assistant +1%
Podiatry – No change
Portable x-ray supplier (1%)
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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