Saturday, December 09, 2006

Saturday morning surprise, surprise, surprise

I have to admit, I was surprised. After this year's election results, and all of the speculation and posturing that ensued, I seriously doubted that the outgoing Congress would make any serious attempts at legislation during the "lame duck" session. So, it was without warning that coffee spewed from my nose while I took in this morning's paper --- buried in an article (I can't find the original one from my paper online) about a last minute massive bill was this little tidbit:

Also driving the massive bill was an effort to prevent a 5 percent cut in Medicare payments to doctors scheduled to take effect Jan. 1 under a complicated government funding formula.
I will freely admit that this was a surprise, and one of no small magnitude. I don't anticipate that it will last forever, as the cold hard realities of Medicare funding will at some time catch up with us, but it's welcome just the same. At least 37% of my patients are Medicare recipients (with a much higher percentage if we look only at inpatient consults), so a 5% or greater reduction in payment gets my attention --- not to mention that all of our contracts are based upon RBRVS formulas, so we would absorb that reduction for insured patients as well.

Now, if I could just get the coffee grinds out of my nostrils....