USA Today: Report: More doctors accepting Medicare patients

Kelly Kennedy, USA TODAY1:08 p.m. EDT August 22, 2013

WASHINGTON — The number of physicians accepting new Medicare patients rose by one-third between 2007 and 2011 and is now higher than the number of physicians accepting new private insurance patients, according to a Department of Health and Human Services report obtained by USA TODAY.

In 2007, about 925,000 doctors billed Medicare for their services. In 2011, that number had risen to 1.25 million, according to the report by the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation.

“I think the report comes at a time when people are asking questions about Medicare,” said Jonathan Blum, principal deputy administrator for the Center for Medicare Services. “It provides a more complete picture of how physicians choose to participate in the Medicare system.”

Physicians have complained about Medicare payment caps, the annual debate in Congress over the way Medicare pays doctors and new paperwork requirements.

“Overall, the clients we deal with have good access to physicians,” said Joe Baker, president of the Medicare Rights Center, a non-profit advocacy group for older Americans and people with disabilities. “We find the physicians who don’t take Medicare don’t take other insurance, either, but it’s not a problem we see regularly.”

Continue Reading here: http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2013/08/22/report-medicare-physician-access/2682301/

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