Study: Most physicians still accepting Medicare patients

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While Medicare still isn't a most favored payer, medical practices aren't turning away Medicare beneficiaries in droves. That's one of the main conclusions drawn by new research from the Center for Studying Health System Change, which found that nearly 75 percent of doctors accepted all or most new Medicare patients in 2008.

That's certainly a better performance than was turned in by Medicaid, at least. Only 53 percent of practices reported that they were accepting all or most new Medicaid patients last year, according to the study funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Other findings concluded that 87 percent of physicians had managed care contracts last year; 59 percent of U.S. physicians appear to be providing charity care (either free or reduced-cost care), donating about 4 percent of their time on this basis; and that 44 percent of physicians received performance-adjusted salaries, including 20 percent who received a share of practice revenue.

The overall study looked at a wide range of physician practice issues, including practice demographics, organization, insurance acceptance and charity care offerings. Researchers surveyed more than 4,700 doctors providing at least 20 hours per week of direct patient care.

To learn more about the study:
- read this Healthcare Finance News piece