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Physicians Foundation Warns of Potential Impact From New Medicare Cuts Effective Today
Date:3/1/2010

BOSTON, March 1 /PRNewswire/ -- The Physicians Foundation, a national healthcare organization that represents the interests of physicians, responded today to new Medicare physician payment cuts of 21 percent, which became effective today after Congress failed to take action on a month long stay.  In 2008, a landmark national survey of physicians commissioned by The Foundation found that 82 percent of primary care doctors nationwide believed their practices would be "unsustainable" if proposed cuts to Medicare payments were made.

"Even before these cuts went into effect, there was widespread frustration and concern among doctors nationwide," said Lou Goodman, PhD, President.  "Between increased time dealing with paperwork and fighting government red tape over payment, it was becoming harder and harder for doctors to keep their practices open.  With these massive cuts, the increase in costs will make it even harder for doctors to do the thing they care about most: spending time helping their patients."

43 million Americans currently receive Medicare coverage.  In their national survey, The Physicians Foundation found that nearly half of all primary care doctors nationwide were planning to either reduce the number of patients they saw or stop practicing entirely.  The Physicians Foundation believes that the new Medicare cuts will only exacerbate problems of access and doctor shortages across the country.  

"Physicians are frustrated because their patients are frustrated," continued Goodman.  "At a time when our country is debating massive changes to our health care system, it's very distressing that Congress would fail to act on behalf of the millions of patients who depend on Medicare.  For years we've known just how concerned doctors were over these potential cuts -- now, they're a reality."

The Physicians Foundation is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that seeks to advance the work of practicing physicians and to improve the quality of healthcare for all Americans. The Foundation is unique in its commitment to working with physicians nationwide to create a more efficient and equitable healthcare system. It pursues its mission through a variety of activities including grantmaking, research and policy studies. Since 2005, The Foundation has awarded numerous multi-year grants.  Additional information about The Physicians Foundation is available online at www.physiciansfoundation.org.

SOURCE The Physicians Foundation

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