Friday, January 1, 2010

Mayo Clinic Arizona Drops Medicare! Happy New Year Seniors!

by Maggie at Maggie’s Notebook

Happy New Year Seniors! A little prezzy from the Prez: Medicare patients have been kicked out of the Mayo Clinic’s Glendale, Arizona facility. It’s a happy, happy day for the Obamas. They are soon to hold your health care in their sweaty, greedy, grabby hands and they can't wait.

“No Medicare patients” beginning today, at the Mayo Glendale facility (a suburb of Phoenix). This is a two-year-trial-run. About 3,200 patients are affected. Needless to say, the Glendale area is rife with retirees:
Obama in June cited the nonprofit Rochester, Minnesota-based Mayo Clinic and the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio for offering “the highest quality care at costs well below the national norm.” Mayo’s move to drop Medicare patients may be copied by family doctors, some of whom have stopped accepting new patients from the program, said Lori Heim, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians, in a telephone interview yesterday….
Mayo’s hospital and four clinics in Arizona, including the Glendale facility, lost $120 million on Medicare patients last year, Yardley said. The program’s payments cover about 50 percent of the cost of treating elderly primary-care patients at the Glendale clinic, he said.
If you are now on Medicare, but want to continue to be treated at Mayo-Glendale, here is what they have planned for you:
A Medicare patient who chooses to stay at Mayo’s Glendale clinic will pay about $1,500 a year for an annual physical and three other doctor visits, according to an October letter from the facility. Each patient also will be assessed a $250 annual administrative fee, according to the letter. Medicare patients at the Glendale clinic won’t be allowed to switch to a primary care doctor at another Mayo facility.
A few hundred of the clinic’s Medicare patients have decided to pay cash to continue seeing their primary care doctors, Yardley said. Mayo is helping other patients find new physicians who will accept Medicare.
Mayo’s decision may herald similar moves by other Phoenix- area doctors …“We’ve got doctors who are saying we are not going to deal with Medicare patients in the hospital” because they consider the fees too low, Rivers said. “Or they are saying we are not going to take new ones in our practice.
DoctorRX at Naked Capitalism says the following about Medicare patients paying cash and receiving treatment (referring to the same article I have quoted above):
Despite what the article says, It’s not easy under the regs to just charge cash. So I’m not sure what Mayo is referring to. Basically a physician has to drop out of being a Medicare provider in toto in order to then charge freely. Once out, I think you’re out for a whole year (at least). And that includes seeing a patient in hospital who’s a Medicare patient (Medicare “A” covers essentially all Medicare patients). So for a whole year the doctor has to only treat outpatients and have nothing to do with Medicare. Not easy. Especially if Glendale has an elderly population.
Obama’s health care plan is not yet law, but he has his ball rollin’ anyway.

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