Happy new year to all !

It seems to me just like yesterday we were concerned about Y2K… Obviously the Mayans were wrong about the world coming to a end… but.. we seem to go from one  earth disaster prophecy to the next… but don’t worry the next prediction is already out there… Are We Prepared for a Catastrophic Solar Storm?  This is “scheduled” for July +/- this year..  So if you are one of those doomsday preppers and have a “boat load” of supplies stash away…  they may still come in handy this year 🙂

This year could be a water shed year for pharmacy and healthcare in general.. as we get ready for the start of Obamacare (ACA) in Jan 2014. It was recently reported that 42% of the MD are >55 y/o .. Depending on how draconian the rules and the reimbursement levels are… some/many of these MD’s may throw in the towel and retire or drop back the number of hours that they work. Either way… the number of prescriber man-hours per 1000 pts is going to take a nosedive.

Physicians are looking at a 30% reduction in Medicare fees… based on a bill that was passed in 2002 and annually Congress has rescinded this reduction each year.. last year.. Congress took over 30 days to work out rescinding the reduction… and the DMERC’s held up sending out payments for 30 days.. so that they would not have to recalculate and send out supplement payments…meaning that MD’s had to go without paying themselves and  use their own cash reserves to keep their practices functioning for over 30 days.

As I write this… the House has announced that they are not going to vote on anything today (12/31) .. so the fiscal cliff …  is inches away… and this reduction to MD’s is on the table…  Even if MD’s stop accepting assignment.. they can only charge a pt 15% more than the Medicare allowable..  and have to try and collect the total due from the pt and the pt will have to wait to get their money back from Medicare.

How many MD’s are going to stop taking/seeing Medicare pts… how many pts are not going to be able to afford to pay upfront when/if  they can find a MD to see them.  How many pts are going to have their quality of life deteriorate not being able to see a MD .. and/or getting a MD to authorize refills on their medications?

This is where Pharmacists could be pushed into treating/managing pts… not every RPH will be willing to take on this task, responsibility and liability… but those who do, may be in sufficient numbers that could well throw the Pharmacist supply pool back into a shortage status.

Those of you Pharmacists out there, who have been in the same community for some time… now is the time to start a conversation with some of the MD’s in the community about how they are going to deal with Obamacare and the 30-50 million more patients that are going to be expecting to now have access to medical care. You know who the more progressive MD’s in your community are…. someone is going to have that conversation with these MD’s… the early bird gets the worm !

While what will happen in 2013 lacks a lot of detail… one thing is clear .. is that there is going to be a lot of positioning for the start of Obamacare in 2014… Those who are progressive thinkers and keep their ear to the ground and their eye on the ball will survive and prosper. Those that keep starring at the Rx dept computer screen.. waiting for some big change to happen and come knocking on their door… will probably be disappointed…


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