Docs concerned about post-reform payments

The ongoing implementation of the Affordable Care Act is causing some specialist physicians to worry about what the payment environment will look like for them moving forward.

Neurologists, for example, are currently chafing under proposed cuts to their payments for certain diagnostic actions, according to The Boston Globe. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services projects it will pay about $1.6 billion for neurology services in 2013, down about 12 percent from this year.

"Medicare's budget is under water, and they're looking for ways to reduce payments," Lee Schwamm, vice chairman of the Department of Neurology at Massachusetts General Hospital, told the newspaper. But  the "abrupt" cuts could have "significant negative consequences," Schwamm added.

Meanwhile, primary care physicians are expected to see their reimbursement rise in 2013 as a result of the ACA, which is encouraging more preventative care, American Medical News reported. But some physicians are wary of taking on new Medicaid patients because rules to keep reimbursement on parity with Medicare may change.

"It would be risky to expand staff and make investments that would require ongoing payment bumps without the knowledge that these would be long term," Fred Ralston, M.D., who practices in Tennessee and is a past president of the College of American Surgeons, told amednews.

For more:
- check out the Boston Globe article
- read the amednews article