August 25, 2011

CMS Threatening More Euthanasia?

This is being opposed by the medical profession with vigor and by the rest of us as well. Although this is only a proposal at this time, what it could do is create an environment that means if you are, for example, involved in an severe auto accident, your chances of being treated properly will go away. This will force hospital emergency departments to make an evaluation as to whether they can treat you or not.

In other words, if the injuries are too severe, they will be forced to make you comfortable and let you die instead of using technology to find the source of injuries and treat all injuries. The current proposal will be for computed tomography (CT scans), magnetic resonance imaging (MRIs), and ultrasound scans and will mean cost cutting measures so that CMS will only reimburse in full for a head scan, but only at 50 percent for any other needed tests on the rest of your body that requires scanning resulting from the same accident.

Sound like Obama's death panels? If this proposal gets put into effect, that is essentially what this will be. This will force hospitals to say that it will cost too much and that treatment is denied. So if the accident is that serious, better hope that you die at the scene, so all insurances can be collected for your family.

Sound harsh? This is what we are facing if CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) has its way. At least 61 members of Congress have seen the folly and intent of CMS and has called for this to end. But this is still not a majority of both houses to stop this action. At stake also is the 29.5 percent across-the-board reduction in physician pay that Medicare's sustainable growth rate formula will trigger on January 1, 2012. Organized medicine is counting on Congress to postpone this cut before year's end, as it has with other cuts going back to 2003.

Many of the medical professionals call this proposed cut in CMS reimbursements “Blind Cost-Cutting” and arbitrary. Please read this article thoroughly and follow the links to see what you can do.

Now having said all this, I am not giving hospitals and doctors a clean pass, as many times to avoid even the chance of a lawsuit, too many medical tests are ordered for no justifiable reason and only because they can be reimbursed by Medicare or Medicaid. This is a practice that needs to be stopped, but the wording of the proposed CMS rules will hurt more people than actually prevent unwarranted tests. Somewhere there needs to be some common sense applied which is sadly lacking on both sides of this issue.

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