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The Economy Project
Tue March 9, 2010
Wyoming Doctors Urge Resolution of Medicare Reimbursement Problem
By Addie Goss
Laramie, WY – Doctors in Wyoming are urging Congress to find a permanent solution to a long-running problem with Medicare. At issue is how much doctors are reimbursed when they treat Medicare patients. The current formula Medicare uses to determine reimbursements depends on the strength of the economy.
For several years, the formula has called for cuts to reimbursements, but Congress has prevented those cuts from happening. This year, the formula calls for a 21 percent reimbursement cut. Congress has postponed its decision on the matter until the end of this month.
A 21 percent cut would hurt Wyoming physicians and patients, according to cardiologist Gerrie Gardner, vice president of the Wyoming Medical Society.
"Most practitioners in Wyoming are either in small practices or they work for hospital systems," she said, "so that means that the patients that are seen are not paying enough for their visit to cover the doctor's overhead, then the doctor has to make significant changes."
The Wyoming Medical Society is calling on Congress to find a permanent solution to the problem, although Gardner said she doesn't know what that would look like.