Monday, January 25, 2010

More and more Doctors avoid Medicare patients

Seniors in rural Arizona towns and cities with a graying population, such as Yavapai County's Prescott and Prescott Valley, are facing what health officials acknowledge is a troubling trend: doctors who refuse to see new Medicare patients.

White is among the many seniors who have struggled to find a local physician and have turned to hospital emergency rooms, clinics or lengthy car trips to Phoenix for health care. Medicare, some doctors say, pays too little, and the red tape is too much.

Nearly a third of Medicare recipients looking for a new primary-care physician had some trouble securing a regular doctor, according to a June 2008 report by the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, an independent committee that advises Congress.