Rebekah Bernard, MD, who wrote a book titled How to Be a Rock Star Doctor: The Complete Guide to Taking Back Control of Your Life and Your Profession, has written an open letter to her Medicare patients. Here are the choice bits:
For every office visit that we spend together, I spend at least as much time on what Medicare deems as necessary documentation, especially a new program called meaningful use.
To comply with Medicare requirements, I’ve had to spend thousands of dollars and massive amounts of time instituting electronic health records, adapting my practice to conform to the computer technology that wasn’t created to help me, your physician.
And next year the whole ballgame changes for physicians as the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) goes into full effect, with a complete paradigm shift in Medicare payment from “fee-for-service” (I send a bill for your medical care, Medicare pays me), to “value-based payment” (I submit a bill, and I get paid if Medicare thinks that I’ve done a good enough job).
The kicker is that the pot of money remains constant – so even if every doctor makes an ‘A’ grade, half of them will be paid less money, just by nature of this “budget-neutral” payment system.
Up to this point, I have managed to play by the rules that Medicare has set.
In 2017, this may no longer be the case.