Bill Kossian: Medicare is out of control
As Dr. Nishmann wrote in his letter to the editor Sept. 7, Medicare is, indeed, out of control. From my personal experience with our own surgical center and hospital, I believe that it is such. Institutions, not the doctors or surgeons themselves, are wrongly benefiting from Medicare’s extremely high payments, sometimes for services not even rendered! In December, 2008, I had minor elective outpatient surgery performed at both Peak One Surgery Center and St. Anthony Summit Hospital at two week intervals. The surgery was performed entirely by my urologist and there were no complications. Peak One & St. Anthony provided a room, anesthesia and a very short time in the recovery room, but both claimed in their billing to Medicare that they performed the surgery which, of course, they did not. In my business experience, I never heard of any other businesses that could over bill and be paid for it without scrutiny. Why shouldn’t our medical providers who receive our Medicare tax dollars be required to publish, locally, audited financial statements annually? This would enable us to see just how profitable these institutions are, or as they claim, if Medicare substantially underpays them. As you may know, Peak One is 50 percent owned by St. Anthony with the other 50 percent owned by the surgeons who practice there. Everyone knows that Medicare is the driving force behind the incessantly rising level of health care costs. A recent issue of AARP magazine stated in a cover story that Medicare fraud is over $50 billion annually. The benefits received by senior citizens are not the problem, and Congress has no plans to cut benefits to seniors, only payment to hospitals and other medical institutions. It’s about time! So seniors, question and complain about changes to Medicare if you feel they are excessive of fraudulent. We are the front line in defense of Medicare and somebody has to do something! We are very fortunate to have both St. Anthony and Peak One if our community, but it is time for them to have a look at their overall practices regarding billing to Medicare.
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