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Survey: Nearly all urologists still accept Medicare

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Nearly all U.S. urology offices (95.4%) still accept Medicare and two-thirds accept Medicaid, according to a recent report that suggests acceptance rates among all medical offices may be declining.Overall, 83.6% of U.S. medical offices accept Medicare and 67% accept Medicaid, the study found.

Nearly all U.S. urology offices (95.4%) still accept Medicare and two-thirds accept Medicaid, according to a recent report that suggests acceptance rates among all medical offices may be declining.

Overall, 83.6% of U.S. medical offices accept Medicare and 67% accept Medicaid, the study found.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is projected to make health insurance accessible for an additional 30 million Americans, and at least one study estimates that one-third of these individuals will be on Medicaid, according to SK&A, which conducted the survey. Meanwhile, the 2011 National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey shows that nearly one-third of office-based physicians said they would not accept new Medicaid patients.

"The findings of this survey are a valuable industry benchmark for the changes that we’re seeing in health care per the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act," said Dave Escalante, of Cegedim Relationship Management, of which S&K is a subsidiary. "As the health care industry prepares to bring on more insured patients, doctors’ acceptance of government insurance programs appears to be trending downward."

In the survey, 271,451 U.S. office-based physician offices were asked about their acceptance of the Medicare and Medicaid programs. The results show acceptance to be largely influenced by variables such as the size and ownership of practices, with larger, affiliated practices correlating with higher acceptance rates.

Practices with 26 or more physicians are more likely to accept Medicare (93.4%) and Medicaid (91.3%) than practices with between one and ten physicians. In addition, practices with higher patient volumes are more likely to accept the two programs. Offices with daily patient volumes greater than 31 have an acceptance rate of 85.5% for Medicare and 69.6% for Medicaid.

The ownership of practices is also influential in Medicare and Medicaid acceptance policies, the survey found. Acceptance of Medicare is higher among practices owned by a health care system (89.4%) or hospital (89.1%) compared with those not owned by a health care system or hospital (82.7% for both). Medicaid acceptance rates are also much higher in health-care-system-owned (82.5%) and hospital-owned (84.4%) practices than non-health-care-system-owned practices (64.7%) and non-hospital-owned practices (64.2%).

Overall, for Medicare and Medicaid, specialists are more likely to accept both than primary care physicians. Specialties with the highest Medicare acceptance rates are dialysis (98.1%), vascular and interventional radiology (98%), and colorectal surgery (97.7%), and those with the highest Medicaid acceptance rates are dialysis (97.5%), critical care medicine (95%), and nephrology (93%).

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