The evaluation sought to answer what type of physicians opted out, whether the number of physicians opting out increased or decreased over time, and why the physicians chose to opt out.
According to deputy inspector general Stuart Wright, the evaluation was not completed because Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), Medicare Administrative Contractors (MACs) and legacy carriers do not maintain sufficient data.
While CMS provided the Office of Inspector General (OIG) with 7,900 providers ranging from 1998 to March 2011, only one out of 10 MACs and one of six legacy carriers provided OIG with all data elements required by CMS. Consequently, the OIG claimed it could not sample opted out physicians and interview them.
The memo implied that the number of physicians opting out will increase in the future, considering “the potential for legislated decreases in Medicare reimbursement for physician services. ” It briefly references a 2011 August report published by the Texas Medical Association, which reported that 50 percent of Texas physicians are considering dropping out of Medicare program altogether.
This trend is nothing new. TMA has released another report in March 2011 that showed that 34 percent of Texas doctors are not accepting new Medicare patients or have limited the number of doctors. Similarly, a report by AARP released in February 2010 surveyed 413 Idaho physicians and found that 17 percent have completely closed their practices to new Medicare patients.
The Physicians’ Foundation has published numerous reports on the topic. A 2008 survey reported that 12 percent of physicians have closed their practices to Medicare patients and the 2010 survey reported that 52.2 percent of physicians said that health reform would cause them to “close or significantly restrict their practices to Medicare patients.”
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NEW YORK (AP) — Credit card rewards are the new social currency.
Citibank customers can now use Facebook to pool their rewards points online.
The bank on Tuesday launched a Facebook application that lets users team up to use their points, whether it’s for charity, a group gift or a personal goal. Citi says it’s the first bank to offer such a feature.
The app builds on a service Citi introduced last year that lets customers transfer points to one another on the bank’s homepage. After getting feedback, executives decided to expand the rewards sharing capability and offer it through social media.
“Now we’re delivering it to where customers are every day,” said Ralph Andretta, who heads Citi’s loyalty programs and co-branded cards.
Andretta noted that customers will have far more flexibility with their points, whether it’s to help a friend fly home from college or team up for a big-ticket reward. The company is giving away 2,500 free rewards points to each of the first 4,000 customers to sign up.
To get started, customers download the ThankYou Point Sharing App, which is linked on Citi’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/citibank.
Customers can then start a rewards pool by naming a recipient and explaining its purpose. The recipient of the points maintains control of any contributions, so it’s best if you know and trust that person.
Pool recipients must be individuals and cannot be an organization, even if the intended goal is a charitable donation.
Users can promote their goals by sharing links on their Facebook pages or privately inviting other Citi customers to contribute. Donors can see the total number of points a cause has amassed.
The app can collect personal information from Facebook profiles. But Citi says it does not share any customer account information with Facebook.
The program isn’t only for credit card holders either. Citi checking account customers can also earn ThankYou points. Citi introduced its lineup of ThankYou credit cards last year.
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Dr. Augustine Fou is Digital Consigliere to marketing executives, advising them on digital strategy and Unified Marketing(tm). Dr Fou has over 17 years of in-the-trenches, hands-on experience, which enables him to provide objective, in-depth assessments of their current marketing programs and recommendations for improving business impact and ROI using digital insights.
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