Ed Luttrell: Congress takes aim at community health clinics

"There’s a misguided cost-cutting plan being discussed on Capitol Hill that could severely jeopardize the health of millions of rural Americans. Community cancer clinics across the country could be forced to shut down, leaving many patients living outside of major cities without anyone to treat them.

This plan centers on Medicare Part B, the component of Medicare that covers services provided by doctors, generally in their offices. This includes the special class of medications that need to be administered in a doctor’s office.

For diseases such as cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, and multiple sclerosis, the prescribed treatment regimens generally are infused or injected therapies and require physician supervision for the sake of safety and efficacy.

Under the current system, physicians pay for these drugs themselves, treat the beneficiary, and then bill Medicare. They are then paid under a formula—roughly, the prevailing average market-based price of the drug plus a percentage add-on to cover administrative costs."

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Edward Luttrell: Congress Is Putting Rural Patients on the Chopping Block (Indian Country Today 9/10)

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