No cash flow for ETX doctors treating medicare patients - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

No cash flow for ETX doctors treating medicare patients


New federal regulations on the filing of medicare claims are causing some headaches among East Texas doctors.

One doctor here in East Texas says he has not been paid since November, for all the medical treatments he performed for medicare patients.

For the last three months, going into the fourth, Dr. Jack Harris says he hasn't received any payments from medicare.

"If you're not getting paid for the care your providing, it certainly creates a big problem for you and running a business, " says Harris.

Harris says new federal standards designed to streamline electronic insurance claims are actually slowing down the cash flow, "When your not getting paid for a fourth of your patients, it certainly creates cash flow problems and other problems for us."

Harris doesn't know if it's the clearing house or the medicare contractor to blame, "I've heard that they were basically fighting each other trying to put the blame on each other, rather than just trying to solve the problem."

Either way, Harris just needs the money to stay in business.

Susan Turney the President of a national medical group wrote a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services saying that practices across the nation are experiencing significant challenges leading to considerable cash flow problems.

Dr. Harris doesn't want to have to let go of any of his medicare patients like other physicians have elected to, so he's even willing to get a short term loan to help him out, until this financial problem is fixed.

"They're has to be a fairly quick turn around with payments for services done because most clinics and practices don't have a large amount of money in the bank, we have to continue meeting payroll, we have to continue meeting all of our expenses," says Dr. Haygood, a family doctor.  

Haygood, and Harris say they are speaking on behalf of all doctors with medicare patients, saying they need the funds to continue their services.

We got a response from the Centers for Medical Services this afternoon regarding the financial issue and they said, "CMS's regional office in Dallas has heard from a few providers about delayed payments. They are looking into the circumstances of those reported cases in hopes they can resolve the issue as quickly as possible."

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