In addition to underpayments for chemotherapy infusion-related services reported in the study, the average oncology practice reported annual bad debt of $500,178.
"Covering co-payments and coinsurance is harder for cancer patients than ever before," said Patrick Cobb, M.D., president of COA and managing partner of Hematology-Oncology Centers of the Northern Rockies in Billings, Montana. "Cancer treatments and medications are more expensive, requiring a larger percentage of patient income to meet their cost sharing responsibilities. As a result, many practices – who turn away patients only as a very last resort – are absorbing these unpaid costs, contributing to their precarious financial situations."
Medicare has already severely cut payments for cancer drug infusion room services — over 25% since 2004. In addition, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will implement even more cuts, reducing payment for drug infusion room services an additional 5% annually, up to 20% by 2013. Other cuts have been made for cancer diagnostic imaging and physician consultation services. On top of oncology-specific cuts, there will be a 21% payment cut for all physicians' services starting in March 2010 if Congress does not act quickly to stop it.
"The situation is even more troubling when we consider that the
|SOURCE Community Oncology Alliance|
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