JACKSONVILLE, Fla., Dec. 7 — A survey just conducted by the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) indicates that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) decision to eliminate consultation codes will force four out of five endocrinologists to reduce the number of Medicare patients seen in their practices.
The CMS decision, which will go into effect in January 2010, will no longer allow endocrinologists and other specialists to bill for consultations provided for patients referred to them by primary care physicians. Written reports will no longer have to be provided to referring physicians. Endocrinologists are specialists who assist in the management of patients with complex cases of diabetes, thyroid disorders and other endocrine-related conditions.
“The new CMS Rule threatens to marginalize the critical role clinical endocrinologists play as consultants–at a time when our nation is facing a diabetes epidemic and we are striving to coordinate complex medical care for an increasing number of our patients,” AACE President and Chief of Endocrinology at Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates, Dr. Jeffrey R. Garber said. “This will undermine Congress’ effort to improve the quality of care older Americans receive and their access to it.”
In the United States, the conditions in which endocrinologists specialize, including diabetes, thyroid disease, and osteoporosis, have reached epidemic proportions. More than 20 million Americans suffer from type 2 diabetes and approximately 50 million have a condition that precedes it called pre-diabetes. More than 10 million Americans are known to have thyroid disorders, while approximately 40 million Americans have osteoporosis and low bone mass.
As AACE currently seeks to delay the new policy, Dr. Garber is encouraging all specialists and their patients to write letters to members of Congress and sign the online petition to reverse the elimination of these codes at www.keepthecodes.com.
About the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE)
AACE is a professional medical organization with more than 6,000 members in the United States and 91 other countries. Founded in 1991, AACE is dedicated to the optimal care of patients with endocrine problems. AACE initiatives inform the public about endocrine disorders. AACE also conducts continuing education programs for clinical endocrinologists, physicians whose advanced, specialized training enables them to be experts in the care of endocrine disease, such as diabetes, thyroid disorders, growth hormone deficiency, osteoporosis, cholesterol disorders, hypertension and obesity. For more information about AACE, visit our Web site at www.aace.com, become a fan on Facebook at www.facebook.com/theaace or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/theaace.
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American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists AACE