On Tuesday, the Obama Administration announced that it decided to abandon its “mystery shopper” survey. The survey was created as a way to address concerns about the shortage of primary care doctors, a problem that could continue to grow if more than 30 million Americans gain health care coverage as expected by the Obama Administration. The decision not to move forward with the survey came after doctors and politicians criticized the project for needlessly wasting taxpayer dollars, along with a number of privacy issues. According to Senator Mark Steven Kirk, Republican of Illinois, there have already been a number of reputable studies confirming the difficulties for Medicare patients to find doctors to see them. Kirk was joined by a number of others who ultimately persuaded the Obama Administration to put the survey on what a spokesman for the health department labeled as an “indefinite hold.”
Physicians should understand their options when dealing with Medicare patients. Physicians can choose to limit the number of Medicare patients that they see. Physicians can also choose to be “nonparticipating” or can choose to “opt-out” of Medicare. If you are a physician with questions about your Medicare participation options, please contact a Wachler & Associates attorney at 248-544-0888.