Doctors Face More Unpaid Bills During Recession; Maine MDs Take Exception With Florida Colleagues’ Criticism Of The AMA

Some patients, struggling in the bad economy, aren’t paying their doctors. “The problems are especially acute for primary care doctors, but specialists are not immune,” the Pittsburgh Business Times reports. “The sour economy has fueled the rise of high-deductible health insurance plans, which shift a bigger share of health care costs to the patient. At the same time, copays and deductibles have risen as employers have sought to hold onto coverage for employees while tamping down spiraling costs. And the problem is not limited to private-practice physicians. … Depending on how employment contracts are structured, doctors who work for a health care system also may take a hit when uncollectibles balloon.”

“Rising delinquencies can mean lower bonuses for doctors employed by one of the region’s two big academic medical centers, said Edward Kabala, a partner at the Downtown offices of Fox Rothschild LLP who specializes in health care law. At least half of the physician contract deals include a provision for bill collection” (Mamula, 9/24).

Meanwhile, “[d]octors in Maine are upset at their Florida colleagues’ criticism of the American Medical Association for endorsing the healthcare reform law without getting enough in return,” The Hill’s Healthwatch Blog reports. “The Maine Medical Association argues that Florida doctors’ official expression of ‘no confidence’ in the AMA’s leadership risks weakening the organization’s ability to ‘effectively advocate for physicians and the patients they serve'” (Pecquet, 9/24).

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