Medicare's physician fee schedule final rule will reduce the conversion factor by 4.48 percent to $33.06 — four physician leaders joined Becker's to discuss how these pay cuts will affect healthcare.
Jack Resneck Jr., MD. President of the American Medical Association: The Medicare payment schedule released today puts Congress on notice that a nearly 4.5 percent across-the-board reduction in payment rates is an ominous reality unless lawmakers act before Jan. 1. The rate cuts would create immediate financial instability in the Medicare physician payment system and threaten patient access to Medicare-participating physicians. The AMA will continue working with Congress to prevent this harmful outcome.
Sandy Berreth, RN. Medicare Surveyor at the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care: Declining physicians' pay may lead to more physician/hospital employment. However, the key for our industry to succeed is the ASC industry itself. Payers are starting to realize and promote ASC services. Therefore, healthcare organizations big and small are going to need to develop relationships or partnerships with existing ASCs or build their own.
Maxim Sheinman. Director of Business Development Hospital Corp. of America: Declining reimbursement will lead to additional physician employment by larger health systems. Will also cause declining quality and availability of physician services. More physicians will become employed and will perform less cases in an ASC setting. We will continue to see the consolidation and corporatization of medical practices. More physicians will seek employment in private equity-backed corporations for stable income. Finally, the standard of medicine in this country will continue to decline.
Shamsideen Musa, MD. Pain Management Physician (Anchorage, Alaska): If physician payments continue to decline, we will continue to see the consolidation and corporatization of medical practices. As a result, patients will likely continue to experience the depersonalization and corporate feel of medical treatment offered by large groups. Physicians will increasingly seek employment at hospitals and private equity-backed corporations for stable income while the number of solo practitioners declines.