Multiple Pay Cuts Hit Doctors In 2015

A flurry of pay cuts for doctors hit today as physicians struggle to implement electronic health records, deal with new measurements to improve quality and deal with myriad changes in Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement formulas.

The biggest pay decrease will be a return to the old rates paid by the Medicaid program for poor Americans when a two-year pay bump under the Affordable Care Act that increased reimbursement 40 percent or more expires. Under the health law, a primary care doctor – a family physician, a pediatrician or an internist – who treats Medicaid patients has been reimbursed to the generally higher level of the Medicare health insurance program for the elderly for scores of primary care services but only for 2013 and 2014.

“The Medicaid cuts are going to have an important impact on family physicians, particularly those who have increased the number of Medicaid beneficiaries in response to the parity with Medicare payment,” Dr. Robert Wergin, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians said in a statement to Forbes. “We took a quick snapshot of what our members were seeing and learned that nearly half of the survey respondents saw in increase in appointment requests from new Medicaid patients and nearly three in 10 saw an increase from their current patients whose coverage changed due to Medicaid expansion.”

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