Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Medicare to cut cancer docs' pay


Chemo may be moved to hospitals

By Mark Sherman
The Associated Press

WASHINGTON - The Bush administration announced plans Tuesday to cut Medicare payments to cancer doctors, saying taxpayers have been paying the physicians up to twice what they should for certain medications.

The proposed changes would save the government $530 million and Medicare beneficiaries $270 million next year, said Mark McClellan, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Medicare spent $10.5 billion last year on prescription medicines administered in physician offices and clinics.

Cancer doctors and patient advocates said the proposal could force patients to get their treatment in hospitals, sometimes far from their homes, rather than in physicians' offices.

Ellen Stovall, president and chief executive of the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship, said, "Our concern is that whatever cost savings may be realized will come at the expense of quality care for patients."

Cancer specialists' revenues could decline 2 percent to 8 percent, McClellan said. Payments for some treatments for prostate cancer would be cut in half under the proposal.

Drugs dispensed in doctors' offices to treat respiratory problems, for which Medicare pays up to 90 percent more than the sales price, also would be affected, he said.

"We're going to get more for our money," McClellan said.

Medicare won't pay for most prescription medicines until 2006, but it covers the cost of intravenous chemotherapy and other treatments that must be dispensed by medical professionals.




2004 DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL CONVENTION
Weiser: Are they chanting 'Jerry' or 'Kerry'?
Kerry portrayed as a hero
Text of Sen. Edward Kennedy's speech
Son of goat herder addresses Dems
Text of the keynote address by Barack Obama
Kucinich delegates weigh their choice
Even reruns beat politics
Convention notebook
Gannett News Service convention coverage
Enquirer's election section

TOP LOCAL HEADLINES
Languishing on the riverfront
Bengals lawsuit provokes outrage
Disabled man mistreated by E-check staff
Gay-rights supporters file for repeal
AllOut mag debuts Aug. 19
WLWT editor fired over insert
Van shooting victim in critical condition
Drug dealer to battle sentence
Drake halts TV ads paid by levy
UC targets potential lung cancer gene for treatment
Medicare to cut cancer docs' pay
Deters cleared, aides guilty
Lawsuit: Goering botched estate
Local news briefs

KENTUCKY HEADLINES
I-471 study to include new ramps at each end
School may test athletes for drug use
Nick sticks to home front
Creditors continue to file against Florence's baseball team
Claims alleging sex abuse rise to 19
Kids learn to manage their money at camp
Grieving mother urges speed limit
Smoking-ban trial set for bingo hall

EDUCATION
CPS rethinks suspensions
Greeks give lessons

NEIGHBORS
Neighbors news digest

GOOD THINGS HAPPENING
Summer charity helps children, elderly cool off

LIVES REMEMBERED
Arthur Church was Democratic activist, lawyer
Ralph Clark headed Cincinnati Bar Assn.