The Mayo Clinic now has two family medicine clinics in Arizona. Beginning January 1, primary physicians at one of those clinics will no longer see Medicare patients unless they are able and willing to pay an annual $250 administrative fee, plus $175 to $400 per visit. They will also have to agree to “an appropriate number of visits each year, including physicals.
The total annual costs for the physical and three office visits would be about $1500, according to the letter that Mayo sent to the 3,000 patients who receive care at the clinic. The letter also informs those patients that they will not be able to transfer their primary care to another Mayo facility.
Michael Yardley, chairman of public affairs of the Mayo Clinic in Arizona, said the changes are necessary because Medicare’s reimbursement rates for primary care are so low. "It has been difficult for us to be able to sustain our own medical practice in a way to provide the best care to patients and for us," he told a local news outlet, youwestvalley.com. “For some the $1500 annual fee- will be cost-prohibitive, and that’s why it’s so painful," Yardley acknowledged. "We have a list of physicians for them that are accepting new Medicare patients. We have done homework in that area, and we have customer service representatives for folks who we are encouraging them to talk to about it."
Health Beat Blog by Maggie Mahar, 10/2009