2012 Annual Participation Enrollment Program Extended

To better allow physicians to manage the uncertainty of threatened Medicare fee reductions slated for the 2012 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS), the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) extended the 2012 Annual Participation Enrollment Program. Fortunately, a two-month Congressional suppression of the mandated pay cut followed.

Physicians narrowly escaped a 27.4 percent reduction in Medicare rates that was scheduled to begin Jan. 1 after the House of Representatives returned from hiatus long enough to pass the Senate’s amended version of the House bill. The Senate bill extends the 0 percent update for just two months, through Feb. 29. The House bill would have averted the negative update for two years and provided a 1 percent update in 2012 and 2013.

The Medicare participation enrollment period will now end Feb. 14, 2012, instead of Dec. 31, 2011.

The effective date for any participation status change during the extension remains Jan. 1, 2012, however, and will be in force for the entire year.

Congress will reconvene mid-January and is expected to resume work on a bill that will further avert the negative update to the MPFS.

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7 Responses to “2012 Annual Participation Enrollment Program Extended”

  1. Vanessa says:

    Is this for all participating providers or for new enrolled providers?

  2. Carol says:

    All the money paid out for an education and malpractice insurance and you get a pay cut. Kind of makes you wonder how many new doctors will be coming along.

  3. Jaime Fiore says:

    We are urging all of our patients and employees to contact their congressional leaders ASAP to avoid the cuts in the Medicare fee schedule. If these cuts go thru, many physicians will stop taking Medicare. I urge everyone working in the field to contact your congressional leaders. This affects us all. What will happen to your salary if these cuts are allowed to go thru?

  4. Jackie Hollamon says:

    Physicians who operate private practices can not afford these cuts. They are forcing good doctors to consider dropping Medicare, which will only hurt our elderly population. (our parents and loved ones included)

  5. Donna Berger says:

    About time! We need global health care…. to solve this problem… Physicians and Hospital’s, as well as, all providers need a pay cut too.. There is no reason for a doctor to make 150.00 for a ten min visit!

  6. Valerie Thomas says:

    Wow! Not sure who Donna works for but not all doctors are millionaires. We see a lot of Medicare, Medicaid and self pay/indigent patients that we collect very little for services provided to them. I am happy to say the physicians I work for are very compassionate to their patients. We write off a lot of patient balances and provide as many samples as we can to ensure these patients receive the healthcare they need. The physicians in our practice work long hours and deserve more than they receive. In my opinion, if anyone needs to take a cut in pay it should be politiicians.

  7. Nicole Dupre says:

    What doctor makes $150.00 for a ten minute visit? As far as I know, for a 99213 we get paid $66.38, this is according to the 2011 Medicare fee schedule in my area-South Louisiana. What code am I missing that gets $150.00 reimbursement??? I am sure other areas get higher payment due to cost of living, but I find it hard to believe any doctor makes that much for a ten minute visit.

    Want to talk about doctors who work hard? The physician who owns the Internal Medicine practice I work for, works from 5am to 9pm (many times later, plus those middle of the night calls), 7 DAYS A WEEK. He might take off 4 days a year. He is the hardest working person I know of and he is FAR from rich!! And he doesn’t waste his money; he doesn’t have time to spend it! We are in a city of 100,000+ people and our elderly community depends on him tremendously-he has an impeccable reputation and earns great respect. We are in a federally recognized physician shortage area; our patient’s would literally have nowhere else to go if we didn’t take Medicare patients. The problem is he doesn’t get paid for seeing our Medicare patients 2-3 times a day in the hospital like he does, the payment limit is once per day, but he wouldn’t do it if it wasn’t medically necessary for the patients. I am certified, and I do my best to ensure we capture every charge that applies and due to the nature of his practice, I have still been underpaid for the entire 10 years I have worked for him. For every charge, there is a highly trained staff member that puts the work in….for example, if a patient needs a lab drawn there is a lab technician that draws the blood, processes it, runs the lab, and readies the result for physician review…and let us not forget supply costs. Is anyone aware of how pathetic laboratory reimbursement is? Where is the profit needed for reinvestment into new technology?? We certainly are not seeing any. The best part about it is that we employ 2 Nurse Practioners to assist our physician. They only get 80% of he gets paid. If the fee schedule cut ever goes through, they would get paid an estimated $38.00 per visit! Our doc is getting rich off of that, haha!

    A patient’s office visit depends on many staff members. Think of the receptionists who answer the phone to make the appointment, then update personal information when they get here; the nurse (we only employ LPNs and RNs due to the complexity of our patient population) who takes the vitals, records complaints and painstakingly reviews 10 medications for a patient who can’t get them straight; the clerk who schedules the xray at a different facility, the checkout staff who collects the copay and schedules the follow-up visit, the billing clerk who answers questions about insurance and claims….ALL OF THESE STAFF MEMBERS CONTRIBUTE TO THE PATIENT’S VISIT. None of them have billable services. To top it off we pay a small fortune for our Electronic Medical Records software, billing software, and the computers and scanners/printers we need to use the programs, plus the IT Company we use to keep the equipment working well. We also pay for companies to handle our medical waste, shred paper containing protected information, copy medical records, CPR certifications, OSHA training, HIPAA training, continuing education, fees for many kinds of licenses…..and the list goes on! What about the ladies who clean our office, the people who service our air conditioner and plumbing, the guy who cuts our grass and our handyman? The payment from that visit gets split 100 different ways to KEEP OUR DOORS OPEN, and we barely manage to do this!! There are many businesses in our community that are open and depending on us and other clinics like ours. But even that isn’t the most important part of our jobs, keeping our patient healthy is. All these things are necessary to enable us to do this.

    “There is no reason for a doctor to make 150.00 for a ten min visit!” Donna, please keep your ignorance to yourself, for you are failing to see reality.

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