The House and Senate have approved several bills, including one that provides for a 0.5 percent increase in Medicare rates for 2008. Well, only for the first six months of 2008 – after July 1, we may get whacked with a bigger cut than originally planned (that is, more than 10 percent), and there is yet another major cut scheduled to come on
The “victory” was that the PQRI program bonus payments of 1.5 percent are funded through the end of 2008. If you haven’t taken a close look and signed up, do so now.
Now, about the Medicare rates – what now?
My advice (with all of the usual caveats about seeking professional advice as every situation is different) is this:
1. Budget for the 0.5 percent increase for the first six months, and no increase (2007 rates) for the balance of the year 2008.
2. Set aside the additional 0.5 percent monies in a reserve account (interest bearing, of course!).
3. Write and meet with you congressional representatives and senators. Work with your local and state medical societies to put serious pressure on Congress to reverse these changes. You can also turn your practice managers/administrators to work through the MGMA (Medical Group Management Association) local, state and national organizations for the same goals. Since Congress is in recess, everyone is home (or on a junket, but I digress).
Go forth and enjoy some well deserved time off.