Happy New Year everyone. Let’s start this year off right – make President Obama a happy man – and kick Medicare patients out of the 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 hardly wait.
Beginning today, “no Medicare patients” at the Glendale facility (a suburb of Phoenix) becomes a two-year-trial-run policy at one of the famous Clinic’s facilities. 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.