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CMS plans system to track physician refusal to accept Medicare patients. (Monitoring Access Problems).

BALTIMORE -- Anecdotal reports that Medicare beneficiaries cannot find physicians willing to accept them as new patients has led the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to step up its efforts to track access to care, CMS officials reported at a meeting of the Medicare Practicing Physician Advisory Council.

The agency is developing a system to monitor beneficiaries' access problems, Dan Waldo, director of CMS's Office of Research, Development, and Information (ORDI), and Frank Eppig, ORDI deputy director, said at the meeting, also sponsored by the Department of Health and Human Services. The council includes 15 physicians nominated by medical organizations and appointed by the HHS secretary. The council advises the HHS secretary on regulations and carrier manual instructions relating to physician services.

The agency will track the volume and content of beneficiary inquiries to the national 800-Medicare phone number. Operators will use a list of questions to identify callers' problems and the region of the country. The information will let CMS count the number of inquiries relating to physicians dropping out of Medicare or physicians refusing to accept new Medicare patients, officials said at the meeting.

CMS also will track the number of beneficiary inquiries that come into local Medicare carriers, examine claims data, and conduct beneficiary surveys.

The ORDI will prepare ongoing reports on Medicare beneficiary access to physician services, Mr. Waldo and Mr. Eppig said. The first report is expected this fall.

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Comment:CMS plans system to track physician refusal to accept Medicare patients. (Monitoring Access Problems).
Author:Peters, Sally
Publication:Family Practice News
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Aug 1, 2002
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