Despite Doctor Shortages, Efforts Lag To Expand Rural Telemedicine
In the meantime, a new survey says many doctors are feeling the pinch of the health law on their time, and that it's adding to a primary care shortage.
Video Visits Blocked Despite Doctor Shortage
Videoconferencing doctors from other areas could help solve the problem of hospital closings and doctor shortages that hit heavily rural states, but proponents say states move too slowly in allowing it. This practice of telemedicine has been caught in a conflict between insurers, doctors and officials reluctant to allow physicians who haven't seen a patient in person — and may never follow up — prescribe drugs or treatment. (O'Donnell, 12/7)
The Associated Press:
Health Law Impacts Primary Care Doc Shortage
The Papas were among the 6.7 million people who gained insurance through the Affordable Care Act last year, flooding a primary care system that is struggling to keep up with demand. A survey this year by The Physicians Foundation found that 81 percent of doctors describe themselves as either over-extended or at full capacity, and 44 percent said they planned to cut back on the number of patients they see, retire, work part-time or close their practice to new patients. At the same time, insurance companies have routinely limited the number of doctors and providers on their plans as a way to cut costs. The result has further restricted some patients' ability to get appointments quickly. (Kennedy, 12/7)
Also, members of Congress urge doctors in their home districts to push to delay implementation of a new health insurance billing code system.
Doctors Urged To Go Big In Push To Delay ICD-10
Rank-and-file members of Congress have been advising doctors in their districts to write the leadership begging for another delay of ICD-10 implementation, adding another twist to the political saga of the complex coding system. (Pittman, 12/5)