Blog — Notes of a Plastic Surgeon

Welcome to my blog. I am a plastic surgeon in Seattle and have been in private practice since 1991. I've seen more than a few interesting faces and cases through my years spent in the exam room, the operating room and the emergency room. And I have an opinion on just about everything relating to plastic surgery (and a lot of unrelated stuff). If you like my blog, let me know. Thanks for reading! Lisa

A doctor’s take on the Medicare scrum.

A very ugly graph

Seattle Plastic Surgeon, Dr. Lisa Lynn Sowder, blogs about Medicare.

I just can’t help but comment on the current national discussion regarding the future of Medicare. To understand how some doctors (me, for example) feel about Medicare, it may be enlightening  to look at this graph.

This ugly graph shows what doctors in private practice (me, for example) have experienced since 2000. Our practice costs keep going up while our payments from Medicare just keep dropping. I think anyone would agree after looking at these numbers that it is not unreasonable for a doctor in private practice (me, for example) might consider dropping Medicare.

In fact, I did drop Medicare about 5 years ago. I was losing money on every Medicare patient I saw and as the saying goes “you can’t make up for that in volume”.   In fact, none of the 4 surgeons in my office accept Medicare.

Talks of  further cuts in physician reimbursement is being discussed as a way to “save” Medicare but is it worth saving if fewer and fewer doctors are accepting it?   A Medicare card in your wallet is worthless if no doctors take it.  This is what is know as coverage without access.

In all of this talk of Medicare, I haven’t heard any politician discuss the fact that many doctors are choosing not to take Medicare. It is the sick old elephant in the living room.

Sorry for such a depressing topic.  Next entry, I’ll try to lighten it up.

Thanks for reading!  Dr. Lisa Lynn Sowder


Category: Financial Issues, Government and Politics | Tags: , , , , ,

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