Mark L. Meyer MD,
As many of you know, the reimbursement rates to this office from United Healthcare and Oxford have been cut by over 40% in the last eighteen months. As you can imagine, this has created an unsustainable situation for the office. Rent, supplies, salaries, and malpractice insurance rates continue to rise. Additionally, it often takes up to 4-6 months to be paid, and only after providing copies of medical records. As many of you are aware, there are few offices which will accommodate patients within 24 hours, not to mention the same day. There are few doctors who call patients with test results the next day, often by 10am. And today, sadly, the office visit which isn’t rushed and where every aspect of a patient’s life is discussed is in many cases a thing of the past. What I value most about being a physician (as opposed to simply a “healthcare provider”) is the time I spend getting to know patients, their families, the unique aspects of their lives, and my role not only as a cardiologist but as a teacher and counselor and confidant. In other words, I practice the age-old art of physician/counselor.
As a result, I will no longer be able to accept the fees paid by Oxford and United, and have resigned from these plans, effective August 1st. I have often joked with my patients that they are getting concierge-level care at a steep discount. Sadly, in the cases of Oxford and United, these discounts have gone from steep to unmanageable. If you have out-of-network benefits, you will be entitled to reimbursement directly from your carrier, but you should confirm your plan’s benefits to avoid any confusion. Over the next year, I anticipate that I will resign from most if not all commercial insurance plans. The type of care I provide, the time this care takes, and the staffing of the office that is required to deliver this care simply are not factored into the reimbursement schedules of the insurance plans. I hope that those of you with these plans will continue to come to this office. I value every one of my patients, and am dedicated to improving the quality of their lives.
One new development: I will be offering a limited number of spots for general Internal Medicine, using an annual fee model. Many of you over the years have asked if I could serve as your internist, and I have decided to offer a high-service product for an annual fee. I am not suggesting that anyone leave his or her physician, but many of you are without internists, or have turned to concierge practices to fill this void. Please let me know if you would like more information about this new and exciting direction for the practice. Know, however, that the lion’s share of the practice will always be cardiology.
Mark L. Meyer, M.D.
Empire Blue Cross / Blue Shield