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'Doc Fix' NOT What The Doctor Ordered; National Physician Group OPPOSES Pay 'Raise' in House; Failed in Senate, Still a Bad Idea in the House; Payoff to AMA? New Survey Shows Money is Not Primary Concern of Doctors
Date:11/17/2009

WASHINGTON, Nov 17 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) called on the House of Representatives to defeat HR 3961, the so-called "Doc Fix" if it comes to a vote this week.

"This is NOT what the doctor ordered, despite that the AMA claims. It's bad for doctors, seniors and taxpayers," said Kathryn Serkes, Director of Policy and Public Affairs for AAPS and Take Back Medicine.

Doctors: "It may freeze the physician Medicare pay cuts for next year, but it's a far shot from a permanent solution. It just trades one complicated federal formula for another, and still leaves physician pay subject to Congressional whim in the future."

Patients: "Physicians are bailing out of Medicare at the rate of 25-33% percent. This does absolutely nothing to assure doctors that it is financially safe to start taking Medicare patients again. And common sense says the only way to offset more pay is to cut back on care."

Taxpayers: "This is a blatant effort by House Democrats to shuffle money around so they can pretend that HR 3962, which passed last week, doesn't increase the deficit."

"This bait-and-switch tactic that was slapped down in the Senate last month," said Serkes.

So why is it back in the House?

"Apparently, the House will first freeze the fees, and then will fix everything later in a new payment system," said Jane Orient M.D., AAPS Executive Director. "Just trust them."

Serkes notes that the doctor-pay bill was introduced just in time to secure an AMA endorsement for HR 3962, but then the House couldn't find time to vote on it along with HR 3962 last week.

"Could it have something to do with the rebellion that needed to be quashed at the AMA meeting during the vote? Apparently the fix is in with the AMA, and the House is using the doc fix to keep the AMA in line."

SURVEY SAYS - MONEY IS NOT THE ISSUE FOR DOCTORS

Physician pay isn't even the primary reason that doctors are turning away new Medicare patients and restricting services, according to a new survey conducted by AAPS this summer and fall.

"The 'hassle factor' is a much stronger deterrent," said Serkes, co-author of the survey which polled more than 1,200 physicians.

According the preliminary round of results tabulations, the number one reason for refusing new Medicare patients is Billing and regulatory requirements, which was rated 'extremely important' or 'important' by 95% of respondents

The second reason: 'Hassles and/or threats from Medicare carriers/government' rated 91%.

'Fees too low' was in third place, with only an 81% rating.

"There's no imaginable doc pay-fix that could offset the enormous increase in government interference in the day-to-day-practice of Medicine that would be created if Congress passes current healthcare reform bills that are on the table," said Serkes.

"They can't just throw doctors a bone - a few dollars - and expect them to fall in line for more government red tape and interference. We need reform that puts patients and doctors back in charge, not government and bureaucracy."

Read the joint letter of 16 organizations opposing HR 3961: http://www.ntu.org/pdf/L091103_House_Medicare_Reimbursement_HR3961.pdf

NOTE ON SURVEY:

Final results of the longitudinal survey "Physician Attitudes and Practices on Medicare" are expected to be released before the end of the year.

www.takebackmedicine.com

SOURCE Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS)


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SOURCE Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS)
Copyright©2009 PR Newswire.
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