OCR Physicians: Ask Congress to Keep Doctors for Medicare Patients

For Immediate Release: December 1, 2011

Contact: Armi Hall, OCR, (970) 419-7140, info@orthohealth.com

OCR Physicians: Ask Congress
to Keep Doctors for Medicare Patients

Dear Valued Patient,

Nothing is more important to doctors than giving our patients the best possible medical care. Our Medicare patients are very important to us. We want to continue taking care of you М± thatМ_s why we became doctors. The last thing we want to do is tell our Medicare patients that we can no longer care for them.

By putting off a permanent fix for more than a decade, Congress has repeatedly failed to come up with fair, sustainable funding formula for paying physicians who treat seniors, members of the military, and the disabled. Congress continues to jeopardize Medicare and TRICARE patientsМ_ ability to have access to the doctors they need.

You deserve to receive the care you have been promised.

Lawmakers must understand the impact that the upcoming payment cut will have on OCR and our patients. Unless Congress intervenes, Medicare physician payments will be reduced by 27.4% on January 1, 2012.

If this reduction takes effect, it will become very difficult for all of our physicians to accept new Medicare patients. In addition, it may cause us to limit the number of appointments for existing Medicare patients and even evaluate our future participation in Medicare.

Your voice counts. We urge you to contact your Representatives to express your concerns.

Senate & House Contacts for Northern Colorado:
Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO), Phone: (202) 224-5941, http://markudall.senate.gov/?p=contact_us
Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO), Phone: (202) 224-5852, http://bennet.senate.gov/contact/
Rep. Cory Gardner (R-CO 4th District), Phone: (202) 225-4676, https://gardner.house.gov/contact-me

If you live in a different area, go to www.contactingthecongress.org You can easily identify your representatives by inserting your address. Once you insert your address, your national and local representatives will be listed with their contact information.

We feel privileged to take care of you and your family. We hope that Congress acts in a quick, reasonable, and responsible manner to put in place a permanent resolution to this important issue for all Medicare patients and physicians.

Caringly,

The Physicians and Staff of the Orthopaedic & Spine Center of the Rockies

PLEASE CONSIDER SENDING THIS SAMPLE LETTER TO YOUR REPRESENTATIVE

Click this link for a pdf file of the letter, or copy and paste the text below:

OCR Physicians: Ask Congress to Keep Doctors for Medicare Patients

Name

Address

Phone/Fax

Date

To Honorable Congressperson

Washington, DC20515

Dear Congressperson :

I am writing today to express my deep concerns over the proposed Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) cut to the Medicare reimbursements for physicians. Unless Congress intercedes, effective January 1, 2012, physicians will receive a 27.4% reduction in their Medicare payments.

If this cut goes through, multiple reactions will most certainly occur in virtually every medical practice in this country:

1. Access to care for existing Medicare patients will decrease substantially. All physicians will either limit access to existing Medicare patient appointments or may actually terminate their participation in the Medicare program. If Congress is pondering if this would actually occur for Medicare patients, Congress should look at the current significant Medicaid patient access problem in the U.S.If this cut is not averted, access to physicians for Medicare patients will most certainly follow suit.

2. Access to care for new Medicare patients will decrease substantially. Data released from the Social Security Administration illustrates that 10,000 seniors a day (baby boomers) are eligible for the Medicare program. This trend will continue for the next 19 years. All physicians will either limit access to new Medicare patient appointments or may actually terminate their participation in the Medicare program. The combination of the acceleration in Medicare enrollment numbers and a significant decrease in access to physician appointments for Medicare patients will make an access problem significantly worse.

3. Equally important, and often overlooked, is the fact that this cut will have a profound impact on physiciansМ_ ability to reinvest in technology, facilities, and jobs.

a. TECHNOLOGY:Physicians must have reasonable reimbursements in order to implement the latest and most advanced medical equipment, electronic medical records, and other information technology systems in order to serve the growing ranks of Medicare patients.

b. FACILITIES: Physicians must have reasonable reimbursements in order to maintain and update their medical office buildings in order to serve the growing ranks of Medicare patients.

c. JOBS:In a recent survey of medical groups, 87% of all respondents stated that if the cut goes through, they will have to freeze staff pay. 68% stated they would reduce health insurance benefits. 42% said they would reduce staff hours and 41% said they would cut staff. In all М± virtually every group indicated they would do something that would have a negative impact on employees.

Again, if this cut goes through, physician practices will have no choice but to find some way to reduce expenses by either reducing the number of employees, reducing other basic expenses, and holding off on needed technology and facility improvements.

Medicare premiums have continued to rise and payroll deductions for working people contributing to Medicare continue to go up. The Medicare program needs to aggressively look for waste and fraud but the current physician reimbursement rates are not the issue.

Simply stated, this proposed cut is unconscionable. I ask for your support in putting an end to the constant uncertainty surrounding physician reimbursement. I ask that you support and urge your colleagues to support a permanent fix to the SGR issue.Congress must ensure I continue to have good access to my physician and physicians are paid a reasonable fee for their time and expertise.

Sincerely,

__________________

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