How to avoid declining Medicare reimbursements

Mark Zuckerberg travels to Washington DC to get decision makers (Congress, federal agencies) to view his company in the most favorable light. The insurance companies, hospitals, and drug companies unleash an army of lobbyists to Washington to influence policy to their advantage. That’s why their profits are so high. If I’m not mistaken, drug companies spent $240 million in lobbying last year.

The Medicare reauthorization act (MARCA) doesn’t keep physician reimbursement rates up with inflation. But the overhead of running a medical practice increased 32% from 2001 to 2018- 1.7% per year. Hospitals and SNFs have seen their pay increased 50% during this time. Guess who sends more lobbyists?

The AAO recently sent out a email blast urging members to take three minutes to send a letter to their congressmen and congresswomen to stop the pay freeze (zero percent updates) from 2020-2025. We posted the link in our soloeyedocs group. Forty of us in the group wrote Congress. I just got a email blast from AAO this week stating only 200 ophthalmologists responded. So our group was one fifth of the responses???

I urge everyone to click on this link:

and write Congress. This is especially true if you’re in training or a young ophthalmoloigst, as you have your entire career of future earnings ahead of you.

As solo eye physicians and business owners of our own medical practices, we need to take charge and advocate for our profession.

When I worked for my HMO group I thought I was insulated from this because I was paid with RVUs. Guess what, these reimbursement rates directly affect how much you’re gonna get paid per RVU.

Even if you’re independently wealthy, it’s important to preserve physician pay and reimbursements.

Someday we will all be old and sick and I want the best and brightest incentivized to go into medicine to take care of me.

Is it fair that paper pushing executives of insurance companies and hospitals are sucking money out of the health care system while we as docs are on the front line trying to deliver good care are falling behind inflation?

There was recently an article in the WSJ about how cancer treatments of questionable value are costing medicare billions of dollars. Guess where the money is coming from? Perhaps physician reimbursements?

We strongly believe docs should stand up for ourselves and our profession. There are two ways to do this.

First, make your voice heard. Download the AAO advocacy app and it’ll notify you when to send emails to your legislators. Take time to meet and introduce yourself to both your federal and state legislators. If they don’t hear from physicians and ophthalmolgists, they’ll assume that we either don’t exist or don’t care.

Secondly, donate to ophthpac and the surgical scope fund. This is a requirement to join the soloeyedocs email listserv, and there are over 160 of us on the list.

It’s the same requirement for accessing the paywall for our blog. We have enough information on this blog for anyone to decide whether or not to go into solo practice.

Yet we still constantly get requests for “discounts” off the $1000 donation requirement. The only person you’re ripping off by not willing to donate: is yourself.

Yes, we realize $1000 is a lot for a resident or first year attending, but if you’re already made the decision to go solo, $1000 is truly a bargain compared to paying multiples for a consultant. If you’re too cheap to cough up $1000 to support our profession, go and figure it out yourself.

We’ve already raised a very significant sum of money, which we could’ve easily used for our Hawaiian vacation slush fund (in lie flat business class and staying at the Four Seasons), but we simply wanted to do something positive for our profession.

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