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Proposed Medicare Changes Will Increase Costs to Government, Decrease Options for Patients
Date:10/1/2009

services provided in cardiology practices is much, much greater. If all outpatient catheterization cases currently provided in physician offices in the course of a year are driven into hospitals, costs to the Medicare program in 2010 will increase by at least $86 million. Medicare patients will personally experience the increase: the out-of-pocket cost for a catheterization performed in an outpatient hospital setting is $583.50 more than when the same procedure is performed in a cardiology practice.

"Physicians across the country are extremely concerned that a lack of timely access to cardiologists and office-based services will reverse the historic improvements in cardiac patient outcomes that have been achieved in recent years," explained Steve Blades, president of Cardiovascular Outpatient Center Alliance (COCA), a non-profit organization representing more than 60 outpatient cardiac catheterization centers across the nation. "Decreased access and delay in treatment, compounded by an influx of patients to hospital-based cardiac centers, is expected to lead to an increase in cardiac admissions to hospitals for needs that should have been addressed in an outpatient environment."

Concern in the medical community - among both physicians and patients - has led thousands to reach out to elected officials in an effort to stop the enactment of the CMS proposal.

"These proposed changes represent a lose / lose proposition in healthcare at a time when our country desperately needs more win / win options on the table," said U.S. Congressman Parker Griffith (D-AL). "It is completely illogical to take a measure that will increase patient costs, increase government costs and decrease access to care - which is why so many are speaking up."

COCA, along with the American College of Cardiology and the Cardiology Advocacy Alliance, encourages physicians, patients and concerned citizens to learn more about the proposal and contact
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SOURCE COCA
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