When Michael T. Myers Jr., MD, characterizes the prevailing attitude toward Medicare among physicians, he uses the Kubler-Ross five stages of dying.
More specifically, he
focuses on stages one and two."Most physicians are in anger or denial," said Dr. Myers, an internist-turned-consultant who is director for the health care consulting practice at PricewaterhouseCoopers in Boston.
Some physicians insist the program is too complex to understand.Others believe they can't make money from the program or that they have little defense against government auditors who swoop in and demand large repayments.Still others think the simplest error will lead to hefty fines or prison sentences.
There is, of course, a grain of truth in all these concerns.But experts say many of these fears are overblown.
Setting up a compliance program will require some effort, but "this stuff is not rocket science," Dr. Myers
said."If they made it through medical school, physicians can understand the Medicare program.
"The idea that Medicare rules will go away or become simpler is a fantasy," he
continued."Until we realize that and deal with it, we are just going to cause ourselves a great deal of pain.We need to face the music and make the appropriate changes."