Doctors Up in Arms Over Looming January Medicare Cuts

Family Doctors are at a crossroads over the coming January 2012 proposed Medicare Cuts.

Regardless of politics, the powerful lobby group representing seniors including AARP are fighting to keep draconian changes from happening, but the failure of the Super Committee to rein in the federal budget has put Medicare squarely in view as the number one target to slash.

Unless Congress acts before Jan. 1, doctors face a minimum 27 percent cut in their fees for treating Medicare patients, according to the Associated Press.

This will affect health care for millions of elderly and disabled beneficiaries.

SignatureMD has created a helpful website explaining these cuts in detail at:

It is unconscionable that primary care doctors are expected to accept a 27 percent pay cut and continue to function with crushing patient loads. Many experts feel that the healthcare system is in the beginning stages of implosion.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., tells the AP that the Medicare fix is too important not to get done before the end of the year. His House counterpart, Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., agrees.

How they achieve this is what is worrisome to doctors whose practices have no room for any further cuts. A nonpartisan panel advising lawmakers is recommending that doctors accept a permanent fix with a 10-year fee freeze for primary care physicians and cuts followed by a freeze for specialists.

A survey by the American Medical Association of more than 9,000 physicians in May 2010 found that 17% already were restricting the number of Medicare patients in their practice. Among the top reasons: 85% said Medicare payment rates were too low, and 78% said the ongoing threat of future payment cuts makes Medicare an unreliable payer.

Typically a well-managed internal medicine physician typically has a 60% office overhead; a 27% Medicare cut would result in a 68.5% reduction in take net income.

If the office is less efficient, e.g. with a 75% overhead, the 27% proposed in cuts will bankrupt the practice.

Doctors are already disenchanted with Medicare, regardless if the cuts go through. SignatureMD has partnered with many primary care doctors in key cities who are coming into tiered “concierge medicine,” limiting the size of their practice and ensuring that their patients receive the best care and latest in diagnostic tests and wellness coaching.

Today’s Concierge medicine is trimmer, focused and affordable for average families. Since 2005 there has been a fivefold increase in doctors switching to concierge medicine. The average SignatureMD patient pays about the same for their “VIP concierge” medical care as they do for a cable TV package. In fact, an average family of four can save money out-of-pocket by joining a concierge practice and adjusting their current health insurance to a higher deductible.

The numbers tell it all: Primary physicians are retiring in record numbers, med students are side-stepping primary care because it pays a fraction of specialty practices,
72 million baby boomers are straining the system; 30+ million uninsured patients are entering the system under Obama care; severe Medicare cuts are at the doorstep, and insurance premiums are still skyrocketing annually.

SignatureMD’s unique “market segmentation” approach to personalized medicine provides cash-strapped primary physicians (GPs, internists, pediatricians) with a flexible business model. Doctors can remain in private practice; even prosper, without eliminating their current patient load while at the same time providing extraordinary services to those who opt in.


I. Doctors and Medicare

About SignatureMD

SignatureMD is one of the nation’s largest firms providing initial conversion and ongoing support services to concierge medicine physicians. SignatureMD currently partners with over 200 affiliated primary care physicians and specialists across 35 states, and its network is rapidly expanding.