Categories
Inpatient Practice

The Ten Commandments Of Consultation

Thirty years ago, Dr. Lee Goldman wrote an article titled “Ten Commandments for Effective Consultation”. I’ve taken some liberties with his recommendations in the context of practice in an era of the electronic medical record.

  1. No consult question is too small. If a physician requests a consultation, it is usually because he or she believes that they and their patient will benefit from your expertise.
  2. Weekends are the same as weekdays. Patients should expect the same level of physician care no matter what day of the week they happen to be in the hospital. New consults on Saturdays and Sundays should be seen promptly.
  3. Follow up your test results. Advising what test to order is one half of your responsibility as a consultant. Interpreting that test result in the context of the patient’s illness is the other half. As a consultant, you share responsibility for the tests that you recommend to the primary service.
  4. A consult is a gift. In the business of medicine, consultants survive by providing consultation. Refusing a consult is like refusing a birthday present.
  5. It’s not a request for consultation, it’s a request for collaboration. The admitting physician may not see your note until the next day and so tests or important medication changes may not be ordered for >24 hours unless you ensure that they happen promptly. On teaching services (with residents), call the resident to let him/her know what you want done. On non-teaching services, enter your own orders for tests or medication changes for the problem that you were asked to assist with or call the attending physician with your recommendations. Inpatient medicine has become a team sport and the patient who wins is the one who has the strongest team of physicians, not just a single strong player.
  6. Availability trumps ability. A consultant succeeds by providing the best customer service and the physician requesting consultation is the customer. Consults requested before 10:00 AM should be seen that day. Seeing patients promptly and being available by phone/pager to the primary service is best practice. If you need your car’s oil changed, would you give your business to the garage that is only open from 9 AM to noon or would you go to the garage that is open from 7 AM to 7 PM?
  7. The discharge is the most dangerous procedure in medicine. As a specialist, you are in the best position to know what is needed in follow up. Assist by scheduling outpatient testing or clinic appointments. Give specific recommendations for medication doses and duration after discharge (especially antibiotics). If monitoring labs are necessary for the treatment that you have recommended, either have those labs sent to you for action/review or make sure that there is a clear hand off to another physician who will take responsibility for those lab test results.
  8. Answer the question that you are asked. You may find additional medical problems that need to be addressed but never forget to respond to the initial question.
  9. Distillation is more important than regurgitation. With electronic medical records, it is easy to import pages and pages of test results. The physician requesting your consultation is not requesting you to restate all of the data retrievable from the computer, that physician is requesting your analysis of all of the data. Make your assessment and analysis easy to locate in your note. When it comes to background data in your consultation note, in general, less is more.
  10. Don’t be a one and done. Your initial impression and recommendation are valuable but your follow up of those recommendations is often even more valuable. See your consults daily until the problem that you were asked to address is resolved or stabilized. Consult follow ups should be seen daily, whether that day is a weekday or a weekend.
  11. And the Golden Rule of consultation: Consult unto your neighbor as you would want your neighbor to consult unto you. Enough said.

July 22, 2016

Categories
Physician Finances

40 Questions To Ask During Physician Contract Negotiations

Entering a used practice can be like buying a used car. You just never know where it has been or how well it is really running, regardless of what it looks like on the outside. At our hospital, physicians have a lot of different employment models with some employed by the University, some in small group practices, some who are in solo practices, and some that are in large multi-specialty practices with hundreds of physicians. Our fellows asked me to give a talk next month on what to look for as they begin their job searches for their future medical practices. Here is a summary of my thoughts… 40 questions to ask during job negotiations:

  1. What is the salary? BEWARE OF THIS QUESTION!! Salary ≠ Salary. There can be hidden benefits and there can be hidden costs. This is a question often best left to the end of the job interview. There is often considerably more to job satisfaction than income than money alone. Don’t say “yes” to the first job offer but do your homework and check the MGMA salary report as a general guide of what salary to expect.
  2. Will you be hospital-employed or privately employed? In 2002, 75% of physician practices were owned by physicians. By 2011, more than 60% were owned by hospitals. The current trend is definitely toward hospital employment and even if you are looking at a private group, there is a chance that it is negotiating an employment agreement. Although there can be advantages to either model, current healthcare economic policies and reimbursement make it easier to succeed in a hospital-employed model in most cases.
  3. Who governs the practice? In small groups it is the partners. In large groups it is typically a CEO and board of trustees. In hospitals it is usually a CEO and board of trustees. At Universities it is usually the Dean and board of trustees. In government agencies, it is an administrator or political appointee. Be sure that the governance places a priority on your interests.
  4. Who do you really work for? Particularly with hospital or academic employment, the leadership structure can be complex and more resemble a matrix than a hierarchy. With large organizations and practices, be sure you know who you will report to and who will be making the decisions that will affect different aspects of your job.
  5. How does the group define clinical productivity? RVUs? Patient encounters? Shifts? Billings? Receipts? Each of these has advantages and disadvantages. How clinical productivity is measured for one specialty may not be best for a different specialty.
  6. How many patients should I see? This is not only specialty-specific but can vary tremendously from one patient population to another within the same specialty. Hospitalists generally see about 1.5-2 patient encounters per hour or 15-18 encounters per day. But not all encounters are equal, for example, a hospitalist co-managing reasonably healthy patients admitted for joint replacement surgery can see far more patients per shift than a hospitalist doing primary management of complex medical admissions admitted through the emergency department. Ambulatory physicians should expect about 20 minutes per patient. 82% of physicians work 8-12 hours per day for an average of 10 hours per day and an average of 59.6 hours per week. For internal medicine it works out to about 110 patient encounters per week.
  7. Do I need a productivity ramp-up period? If you are an emergency room physician, anesthesiologist, trauma surgeon, or critical care physician, then the answer is no because you will have a full slate of patients your first day in the hospital. If you are a surgical specialist, a consultant in a competitive market or a primary care physician then the answer is likely to be yes. Ramp-ups give the new physician a guaranteed salary if they are not able to make their own salary with their own billings and are usually phased out over a 1-3 year period. Also, most physicians do not reach optimal clinical efficiency until about 7 years after completing their formal training, which is why physicians age 50-60 are currently the most productive physicians in the United States.
  8. What is the group’s payer mix? You can plan on bringing in about $34/RVU for Medicare, $25/RVU for Medicaid (depending on your state), and $30-70/RVU for commercial insurance. Self-pay patients can vary but most of the time will provide negligible reimbursement.
  9. Will my payer mix affect my income? In Ohio, it can take up to 180 days to get commercial insurance company provider approval. Therefore, building a practice may mean more self-pay and Medicaid in the beginning. If you plan to rely on inpatient unassigned ER admissions to build your practice, bear in mind that these patients will generally have a lower payer mix. The affordable Care Act Medicaid expansion states have much better payer mixes than those states that opted out of Medicaid expansion. States that did NOT adopt Medicaid expansion include: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
  10. Who negotiates commercial insurance contracts? Small group practices will usually get the “standard” rates from insurance companies and this is typically 90-110% of Medicare on a per RVU basis. Large groups may have higher reimbursement from the same insurance companies, depending on their leverage. Huge groups or those with monopolies may get 150-180% of Medicare rates. If the hospital is sponsoring the contract negotiation with an insurance company, the focus may be more on hospital reimbursement rates than on physician reimbursement rates. Most patients don’t realize that when they get admitted to the hospital, the amount that 2 physicians get paid by an insurance company to provide a given service or do a procedure can vary depending on who those physicians are employed by.
  11. Are “easy” duties equally shared? There are some clinical activities that can generate a lot of income per physician work hour. Be sure that the more senior members of the practice are not hoarding all of these relatively easy activities such as EKG interpretation, PFT interpretation, bone density interpretation, reading cardiology non-invasive tests, EEG interpretation, EMG interpretation, and sleep study interpretation.
  12. Are there medical directorships? These can be a great way to balance your overall employment activity portfolio, much like having some bonds in your investment portfolio. These can take the form of hospital directorships, practice-owned lab/imaging directorships, governmental directorships, industry directorships, and university teaching salary lines.
  13. Is there a buy-in? This used to be pretty standard but is uncommon now and should be a red flag to you. There are some things that are appropriate for buy-in: property, equipment (depreciated), and accounts receivable. Think twice before buy-in for: referral base, patient charts, or practice equity.
  14. Can I moonlight? No two moonlighting activities are exactly the same and be sure you know what the rules are before you sign your employment contract. Expect on having some unexpected expenses in your first few years of practice so being able to make a little extra money can really help. These may take the form of extra hospital shifts, extra clinics, expert witness testimony, business consulting, honoraria for giving talks, or board memberships. In some groups, income from these activities belongs to the practice and in other groups, the income belongs to the individual physician.
  15. What intangibles will add to your job satisfaction? These can include teaching, research, publication, public health, community service, sports medicine, and medical volunteerism. Don’t underestimate the value of these things. In a recent survey of physicians, 17% said they were very dissatisfied and 25% said they were somewhat dissatisfied with their job. Only 41% of physicians said that they were very likely or somewhat likely to recommend a young person to go into medicine. I have lots of uncompensated intangibles in my job and that is one of the reasons that I’m so happy with my job.
  16. Are there plans to be an accountable care organization (ACO)? ACOs were started as a provision of the Accountable Care Act in 2012. They are created by physicians and hospitals combining to provide all of the healthcare for at least 5,000 Medicare beneficiaries for 3 years. The providers are jointly responsible for the care of the patients with a goal of reducing unnecessary tests, keeping costs down, meeting quality benchmarks, and focusing on prevention. Those ACOs that are successful get paid extra by Medicare. However, many ACOs have failed, resulting in lower income. ACOs’ existence is also vulnerable to who is in Congress and who is the President so there is no guarantee that they will still exist 3 years from now. The bottom line, beware of practices that are ignoring ACOs but also beware of practices that are counting on ACOs to survive.
  17. Does the practice use advanced practice providers? These can be nurse practitioners, physician assistants, CRNAs, clinical nurse specialists, or nurse midwives. The scope of practice of these providers varies from state to state so know the laws of the state you will be moving to. Also, there is a big difference between advance practice providers employed by a hospital versus employed by a physician practice. If they are employed by the hospital, then you the physician cannot use their documentation for your own notes in order to justify the level of service billed. It is possible, however, for the physician group to lease some of the advance practice provider’s time from the hospital enabling the physician to use the advance practice provider’s documentation as part of the physician’s note.
  18. Is there an electronic medical record? This is not as much of an issue now compared to a few years ago since now, most practices will have an EMR of some kind. However, you do need to ask a few questions. Does it meet federal EMR requirements? Does it interface with the hospital EMR? Does it interface with referral physicians? Does it interface with the billing department? Does it work for you or do you have to work for it (not all EMRs are equally user-friendly)?
  19. Are there restrictive covenants? Even though you think that your first job out of residency will be the one you will stay with for the rest of your life, it probably isn’t. Restrictive covenants can take many forms including: geographic non-compete, non-solicitation, hospital non-compete, and chart ownership. Restrictive covenants can be appropriate for some specialties but they must be reasonable. A 10 mile geographic non-compete clause may be OK for a thoracic surgeon specializing in robotic surgery. A 50 mile geographic non-compete is probably not OK for a hospitalist.
  20. What about call? Do all partners participate equally? Not all call is created equal, for example, is call taken at home or in the hospital? If it is home call, how frequently do you have to come into the hospital at night? How many hospitals do you cover when you are on call? Is there a surge plan in case you get overwhelmed with admissions or consults? Are there residents or hospitalists who are in the hospital covering the patients with you?
  21. What about shift work? If you will be working shifts (for example emergency medicine or hospitalist medicine), then who makes up the schedule? Does the new guy do all of the night shifts? Is there a shift pay differential for the undesirable shifts? Beware of productivity-based salary plans that have shift work because not all shifts are productivity-equal, for example, you probably won’t hit your RVU targets if you are primarily working the midnight to 8 AM shift in the emergency department.
  22. How will my success be defined? RVUs? Total income? Number of procedures? Quality metrics? Patient satisfaction? Readmission rates? Length of stay? Publications? Grants? None of these are necessarily bad measures of success but just know what the rules are and what is valued by the practice before you start.
  23. What is the history of the practice? Recent physician turnover can be a warning sign. A new venture may be riskier than an established group practice. Some turnover is OK – many/most physicians change jobs in their first 5 years of practice.
  24. What’s under the rug? Some of the things that they won’t put in the employment ad you read in a medical journal can include: Medicare fraud history; federal investigations such as HIPAA violations, tax fraud, Stark violations, or discrimination; employee civil suits; state Medical Board violations; and malpractice history. If there was recent attrition, why did the previous doctors leave? Always Google the practice and the senior members of the practice to be sure that there is no hidden dirt on the practice.
  25. Are there negotiable incentives? The salary may be non-negotiable, but there are a lot of other things that the hospital or practice may be willing to pay for. Sometimes, all it takes is just asking about student loan repayment, moving expenses, signing bonuses, board certification exam fees, DEA license fees, state medical license fees, practice advertising/promotion costs, and pager/cell phone/answering service.
  26. What are the benefits? Computer? Expense accounts (CME, travel, books & journals, equipment?), Sick time accrual? Vacation time accrual? Retirement? Maternity leave? Paternity leave? Tuition discounts? Health insurance? Life insurance? Disability insurance? Health club membership? Meals? These can really add up and can make a job more valuable even though the salary alone may be considerably lower.
  27. What is the practice overhead? There are some elements of overhead expense that all practices will have such as billing expense (“revenue cycle”), legal expenses, practice administration, rent, equipment, nurses, etc. Academic institutions will uniquely have additional expenses such as “Dean’s tax”, departmental tax, fellow salaries, research faculty support, and support of money-losing specialties. None of these are necessarily bad but you should know where every penny of your collected dollar is going.
  28. What is the collection rate? This is a point of confusion for most physicians. The gross collection rate is the amount that you get paid versus amount you billed and typically 40-60%. It is completely dependent on where the practice sets its fees and is largely irrelevant. The net collection rate is the amount you get paid versus the contractual rates. This should be as close to 100% as possible and should always be > 90%. The net collection rate is a reflection of billing efficiency and is highly relevant.
  29. What are the contract termination conditions? Most initial contracts are for 1-3 years. Frequent re-negotiation can be tedious but can protect you against changing medical economics. The contract should contain a termination clause. Typical “without cause” termination is 90 or 180 days and typical “with cause” termination is immediate.
  30. Where will you actually be practicing? Most practices will have multiple locations that they practice in and just because your initial interview was at the flagship hospital does not mean that you will be spending all or even any of your time there. Know if you will be working at an outpatient clinic, an inpatient hospital, an urgent care, doing telemedicine, an LTACH, an affiliated hospital, or a nursing home.
  31. Do you have a unique marketable skill? This can be negotiated into a higher salary than the standard base salary and can include expertise in interventional endoscopy, interventional bronchoscopy, cardiac MRI, endoscopic ultrasound, robotic surgery, laparoscopic surgery, or experience in a specific disease.
  32. Does it feel right? For most physicians, that sense of it “feeling right” was one of the main factors in deciding what residency to choose. That same sense is helpful for your first job after residency and can be affected by, the partners, the practice, the administrator, the hospital, and the community.
  33. What kind of malpractice do they have? “Claims made” means that the insurance coverage period covers the period of time the claim is filed. Claims made policies require purchase of a tail to cover any claims filed after the coverage period. “Occurrence” means that the insurance coverage period covers the period of time when the actual event occurred and it does not require purchase of a tail.
  34. Who pays malpractice? The contract will usually say who pays for the annual premiums but be sure that you know who will pay for a tail insurance policy if you leave the practice. The cost of the tail can vary depending on the cost of the regular premium, the physician’s specialty, and how long the physician worked at the practice before resigning. Tail coverage can be very expensive.
  35. What is the retirement plan? There are a bewildering number of retirement plan options including defined benefit pension plans, defined contribution pension plans, 401a plans, 401k plans, 403b plans, 457 plans, Social Security, IRAs, and SEPs. If you assume that you will work for 30 years and then live for 15 years after you retire and you are now making $150,000/year and you estimate you will need 80% of your annual income in retirement, then you are going to need about $5,000,000 by the time you retire. It is not as difficult to achieve as you might think but it is very important that you start early in your career. Be sure you know what your retirement savings options are and then take advantage of them early in your career to the best that you can afford.
  36. How difficult was the contract negotiation? Was it a struggle? Was it fair? Your first negotiation with the partners or the hospital will not be your last.
  37. Did they give it to you in writing? Some of the warning signs to be on the look-out for include a partner’s spouse who is involved in practice administration, an “acting” chairman (academic position), resistance to provide details in writing, no incentive bonus, a history of frequent physician turnover, and partners who are all old or all young.
  38. Is the contract assignable or non-assignable? In the event of a potential group acquisition, consolidation, or merger will you be obliged to work for the new group (assignable contract) or will you be free to leave (non-assignable contract).
  39. What happens if you leave? Can you cash in your unused vacation time and does it accrue from one year to the next? Can you cash in your unused CME time or unused sick time? Do you get to keep your accounts receivable or will they stay with the practice?
  40. Do I need to have an attorney review the contract? Maybe…The bigger the practice, the less negotiable the contract but it is usually worth a few hundred dollars for the peace of mind that an attorney will give you that you are not being taken advantage of.

 

July 21, 2016

Categories
Committees

The Committee Menagerie

Recently, my son jumped up from the dinner table and ran outside. It turns out he was chasing a Pokemon on his iPhone. There are hundreds of different Pokemon and as it happens, there are also dozens of different creatures that inhabit the committee menagerie. Whenever I sit down at a hospital committee meeting and look out over the attendees, there are always a few distinct species that are there, each with its own fairly predictable behaviors and powers. Here are some of the more common ones:

Snoozeum. A nocturnal beast who sleeps during the day. In committee meetings, it will occasionally wake up for donuts or free lunch. Harmless but during meetings, can be annoying when snoring and can be disconcerting when it has undiagnosed sleep apnea.

Hyperbolator. Easily identified by its unique ability to use 50 words in a 10 word sentence. He has a symbiotic relationship with snoozeum and is the only creature who will cause snoozeum to sleep despite availability of donuts.

Drone-onicus. Although evolutionarily related to Hyperbolator, this species possesses considerably greater endurance than Hyperbolator and is able to suck the life out of a meeting by speaking for up to 30 minutes on a single breath without pause. It typically becomes increasingly tangential with its thoughts and speech the longer it talks. It has the unique quality to turn any committee attendee into a Snoozeum and can often be identified by bringing 40 PowerPoint slides for a 5 minute presentation.

Obfuscatam. This animal can be identified by its sound. When asked a question that it doesn’t like, it will answer with a response to another question that it does like. More often found in political habitats, Obfuscatam does sometimes venture into the hospital habitat where it leaves a trail of head scratching physicians uttering “What did he say and what does that have to do with anything?”.

Negatorus. This is a species that is a remote ancestor of Eeyore of the hundred acre wood. It never met an initiative that it likes and has the ability to see the worst possible outcome of any new venture. It is convinced that something bad is always going to happen. It becomes agitated when exposed to sunny days and puppies.

Textasaur. With thumbs that move as fast as hummingbird wings, Textasaur is in constant motion. Not much is known about its facial features since it rarely looks up from its smartphone. Usually found near electrical outlets in order to maintain its phone’s seemingly high metabolism rate. Textasaur is harmless in large committees but in small committees of 3 or 4 attendees, Textasaur can be highly annoying.

Typeasaurus. You’ll never see a Typesaur as it never attends meetings in person. The only true evidence of its existence is during conference calls. Characterized by the lack of a mute button on its phone, it uses the speaker setting on its phone in order to free up its hands to type on its keyboard. By placing its phone strategically close to its keyboard, it is able to amplify the key strokes for everyone on the conference call to hear and is easily able to drown out all voices on the conference call. It is believed that  the loudly amplified keystroke noises are a mating call for other typeasauruses.

Ruminatadon. Moving at sloth-like speed, Ruminatadon thrives in committees and can chew on a single decision for an entire hour without swallowing. Usually requires an additional month to fully digest any proposal and asks for a follow up committee meeting before it will make any decision.

Granddadasaur. It starts most comments with “Back when I was a resident…”. It laments the loss of the paper medical record and longingly recalls delightful hours spent waiting at the radiology film library window. Outside of the hospital, it often submits letters to the local newspaper editor believing that political change alone can bring back jobs from a happier time, such as blacksmith, canal boat captain, and slide rule manufacturer.

Rantasaur. This creature can be identified by its ability to change color from pale to bright red when it speaks. Rantasaur is perpetually angry at some other species and has a perception of perpetual victimization. It has been known to undergo spontaneous combustion during particularly severe tirades.

Narcissizard. This species cannot let a meeting or grand rounds go by without asking a question or making a comment. Most of its utterances don’t have much to do with the topic at hand but the animal is certain that the meeting attendees cherish its every word. It can also be found in the surgery locker room looking into the mirror and asking itself questions, then smiling.

Copernicusipus. Convinced that the entire hospital revolves around its own territory, this species is unfamiliar with other habitats within the hospital. With an insatiable appetite for hospital resources, if not tightly reigned in, the creature can single handedly consume the entire hospital budget for a year. Often found to express indignation when a committee votes to budget one unit to get clean bedsheets for patients while denying its personal request for a second double expresso moca latte caffeinator machine for the physician lounge in its own habitat.

Intimidatadon. This carnivorous beast possesses large fangs which it frequently bares in order to frighten other species into getting its way. It is highly venomous and particularly malodorous. It is able to go for up to 6 months without having anything nice to say about anyone.

July 20, 2016

Categories
Hospital Finances

Articles about hospital charges will never get you a Pulitzer

Every year, an eager young reporter will call up hospitals in some large U.S. city and ask how much they charge for procedures like a hip arthroplasty, MRI, or obstetric delivery. He or she will become outraged to find out that there is enormous variation in the amount that different hospitals charge and write a newspaper article exposing the “high cost” hospitals and hoping to be rewarded with a Pulitzer Prize. All I can do is shake my head and sigh.

If you are a foreign prince coming to the United States to get your hip replaced, this information may be valuable to you but if you are an average American, the hospital charge is irrelevant. The reason… almost nobody pays the amount that appears on the hospital charge list.

If you are 68 years old, the cost of your hip replacement is going to be (almost) the same at any hospital you go to and that is because the hospital and the orthopedic surgeon get paid the amount that Medicare will pay for a hip replacement regardless of what the hospital or the doctor charges. I say almost the same because there are some minor adjustments in what Medicare will pay based on the geographical location of the community, whether the hospital is a teaching hospital, etc. but the amount is pretty close for all hospitals.

For people under age 65 on Medicaid, it works the same – regardless of how much the hospital “charges”, Medicaid pays only the same fixed amount. For those people under 65 who have commercial insurance, it is a little different: the insurance company will usually have a standard rate that they will pay regardless of the hospital charge and when the hospital and the insurance company negotiate a contract every few years, the hospital will agree to what that rate will be. Big hospital organizations can often leverage their size or notoriety to negotiate rates that are higher than the “standard rate” (but that is a topic for a separate post).

For most hospitals and most physicians, the “charge” for a hip replacement will be 1.5 to 3 times higher than what commercial insurance companies will pay. So why set the charges so high if it doesn’t affect how much you get paid? Two reasons:

First, the hospital (or doctor) always wants to set the charge for a procedure higher than whatever the highest-paying insurance company will pay for it so that they don’t leave money on the table. For example, lets assume Medicare pays $400 for an MRI test, insurance company A pays $450, and insurance company B pays $500. If the hospital charges $400 for the MRI, then that is all insurance company A and B have to pay so the hospital will leave $50 from insurance company A and $100 from insurance company B on the table. On the other hand, if the hospital charges $600, then they will get paid $400 from Medicare, $450 from insurance company A, and $500 from insurance company B.

Second, sometimes, the hospital will get paid whatever they ask for with their charges. This doesn’t happen very often but if your hospital has a lot of foreign princes flying in for their hip replacement, then it makes sense to ramp up the charges since that foreign prince will pay whatever you charge him. There are a few rare occasions when an insurance company will pay whatever the “charge” is – in my experience, this mainly happens when a lawyer or an insurance company pays a physician to do an independent medical examination for disability determination. The hospital charge can also apply to people who don’t carry insurance; this was pretty common before the Affordable Care Act when the percentage of our hospital’s patients who were uninsured was running about 13% but since the ACA was enacted and Medicaid was expanded in Ohio, our uninsured percentage has dropped to < 3%. Most of those who remain uninsured have low incomes and the hospitals will usually negotiate some reduced charge based on the patent’s ability to pay or write it off completely if the patient is indigent.

If you want to find out what Medicaid pays your doctor for a procedure or service, you can look up the current Medicare Medicare Physician Fee Schedule Search – regardless of what your doctor charges, this is what he or she is going to get paid by Medicare.

So next time you come across an article about unfair hospital charges written by an infuriated reporter, do what I do… skip to the sports page.

July 19, 2016