Curious Message from the AMA

At least for now, things are looking bad for doctors treating Medicare patients, with a nearly 30% pay cut coming January 2012, unless Congress intervenes.

So the AMA has been sending messages to doctors about our options for 2012, including opting out of Medicare.

Now the curious part is this: along with the opting out information came a solicitation to order a new book:

Death in Large Numbers: the Science, Policy, and Management of Mass Fatality Events

(Along with this they recommend the  Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness Journal, as well as The Core Disaster Life Support® Manual.)

It makes a person wonder what they’re thinking.

To introduce the book they include the following paragraph:

Each year worldwide, thousands of people die from natural and human-caused disasters. In a mass fatality event, mortuary affairs systems could become overwhelmed, making it crucial that communities have programs in place to effectively carry out the management of human remains and respond to the needs of family members of the deceased. Death in Large Numbers provides critical information for those responsible for preparedness, response, and recovery operations in catastrophic incidents with mass fatalities.

I haven’t yet ordered this $180 book, and am not sure I will, but perhaps I should contact our local authorities and see what they have planned (if anything).

Any of you (anonymous) military/government folks or doctors care to comment?

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About Cynthia J. Koelker, MD

CYNTHIA J KOELKER , MD is a board-certified family physician with over twenty years of clinical experience. A member of American Mensa, Dr. Koelker holds degrees in biology, humanities, medicine, and music from M.I.T., Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, and the University of Akron. She served in the National Health Service Corps to finance her medical education.
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One Response to Curious Message from the AMA

  1. Mojoron says:

    I am not a physician but am involved in cardiac surgery and know about reimbursement for those procedures. Here is the deal. Over the past twenty years, Medicare has decreased payment for procedures that are normally charged for, e.g., Coronary Bypass, Valve replacements, Major Vascular, etc. first by flat-rating (one charge for complete care). Then they stopped paying extra for complications: infections etc. Now they are wanting to pay even less for those procedures on patients who are more sick because of cardiology procedures that prolong the surgical treatment of the disease. Patients are older, sicker, and have more pre- and post-operative complications. At some point, there will a number of surgeons who will refuse to operate on non-emergent Medicare/Medicaid patients because the cost of taking care of those patients will be more than the reimbursement. Many surgeon practices are either being bought by larger groups or by hospitals so that hospitals can offer procedures to everyone. That will be the only way that physicians who do not want to take Medicare/Medicaid patients will be able to take care of them.

    Then again, with the potential insolvency of Social Security and Medicare forecasted in the future, the ability for the government to pay for services may be an impossibility. Armageddon will be here.

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