NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Declining Access for Medicare Patients

January 22, 2003

The American College of Physicians-American Society of Internal Medicine (ACP-ASIM) warns that more doctors are refusing to accept new Medicare patients. Based on an online survey of its members, ACP-ASIM reports:

  • The number of physicians who will no longer accept new Medicare patients in 2003 increased by 78 percent over the previous year.
  • Fewer than two-thirds of participating physicians have decided to renew their Medicare contracts for 2003.
  • Of those physicians who currently accept all new Medicare patients, only one in five will continue to do so.
  • Only one-third of physicians plan to maintain their current policy of accepting new Medicare patients.

Nearly 50 percent of physicians report considering early retirement or a career change. Of those physicians, 80 percent report being concerned that their patients would be unable to find another participating Medicare provider.

More than 70 percent of physicians say they have already taken cost cutting measures to absorb previous cuts including reducing their staff, putting off the purchase of new medical equipment and technology, or postponing raises and decreasing staff salaries.

Source: "Physician Group Charts Medicare Problems," White House Bulletin, January 21, 2003.


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