Health Care News & Discussion
Medicare Medical MUD
06/04/2002 2:37 PM
The anger of the federal government against doctors is played out with a vengeance in the latest Medicare regulations. Since January 1, 1998, the government has decreed the nature, extent, and completeness of every evaluation physicians perform on their patients–whether they need it or not. The examination will also have to be recorded so that the lowest bureaucrat can read it, or the physician will be fined exorbitantly.
Before it will pay for a complete evaluation, Medicare decrees that the patient must have several fully developed medical problems in the medical history. There must be at least nine of the organ systems recorded. To charge for a complete evaluation, a doctor must also have examined every portion of the body, including the breasts, phallus, prostate or pelvis. If the patient has a gynecologist and her pelvic exam is up to date, Medicare requires a redundant examination, whether or not the patient wants it. A doctor can either do the exam against the patient’s wishes or charge for an intermediate or brief exam even if the doctor spent an hour performing a medically indicated thorough examination.
Should the physician charge for a complete exam and the government bureaucrat feel that one item is missing, the doctor may be accused of fraud, committing a felony and be fined up to $10,000 per line in error and even go to jail. If the doctor performed all of the exams but the bureaucrat could not read the doctor’s writing, the doctor can still be fined or sent to jail.
Government hostility against doctors runs deep. More and more rules and regulations harass good physicians rather than allow them to practice their profession.