Dec 2, 2009 11:54 PM by Nicole Vandeputte
Big changes are coming for Medicare patients. Drastic cuts to cardiology means those patients will pay more for life-saving testing.
Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer in the United States. Cuts to Medicare have some Cardiologists worried that death rate could actually go higher.
Dr. David Rosenbaum is with Pikes Peak Cardiology in Colorado Springs. He treats patients all over Southern Colorado, and half of them are Medicare patients. He says, "It really becomes potentially life-threatening which is what many of us worry about."
Starting on January 1, most of those patients won't be able to have their testing done at Pikes Peak Cardiology. That's when the new cuts take effect. It's a 40% cut to reimbursements for Cardiology care for testing, and procedures. That means you'll have to go to the hospital for that testing which will cost more. Dr. Rosenbaum says, "They will pay more in their co-pay based on the way Medicare is currently set up. That co-pay is likely to be 2-3 times higher than what they would normally pay."
Dr. Rosenbaum says they've already had to cut staff at his office. He believes the changes will go far beyond job loss. "I think the future of medicine is going to be distinctly different from how it is today," he says.
The Cardiologists and medicare patients at Pikes Peak Cardiology have been writing Congressmen petitioning these cuts. Dr. Rosenbaum says they will continue this campaign in hopes of getting of getting these cuts reversed.