[Guest post by DRJ]
The Mayo Clinic’s family care clinic in Glendale, Arizona, will not accept Medicare patients in 2010:
“The Mayo Clinic, praised by President Barack Obama as a national model for efficient health care, will stop accepting Medicare patients as of tomorrow at one of its primary-care clinics in Arizona, saying the U.S. government pays too little.
More than 3,000 patients eligible for Medicare, the government’s largest health-insurance program, will be forced to pay cash if they want to continue seeing their doctors at a Mayo family clinic in Glendale, northwest of Phoenix, said Michael Yardley, a Mayo spokesman. The decision, which Yardley called a two-year pilot project, won’t affect other Mayo facilities in Arizona, Florida and Minnesota.”
My family has received medical care from two Mayo Clinic locations, although not in Glendale. It does offer excellent care and one of the reasons is it watches its bottom line:
“The Mayo organization had 3,700 staff physicians and scientists and treated 526,000 patients in 2008. It lost $840 million last year on Medicare, the government’s health program for the disabled and those 65 and older, Mayo spokeswoman Lynn Closway said.
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.”
The Mayo spokesman indicated it will assess the Glendale experiment “to see if it could have implications beyond Arizona.” More doctors and hospitals may follow Mayo’s lead. The article notes that “doctors made about 20 percent less for treating Medicare patients than they did caring for privately insured patients in 2007, a payment gap that has remained stable during the last decade.” In other words, reform is coming and it won’t all be from the government.
Thanks to redc1c4 for the great H/T.