The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

April 14, 2014

Ala. doctors explain high Medicare reimbursements

— HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (AP) — Medicare reimbursed several Alabama doctors more than $4 million in 2012, according to data released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services last week.

However, doctors say the numbers reflect the high cost of specialized treatment and most of the money doesn't factor into their salaries.

Dr. Sammy Becdach and Dr. Jeremy Hon of the Clearview Cancer Institute in Huntsville each received more than $4.2 million in reimbursements, and Dr. John Waples received more than $4.8 million. All patient services at the institute are billed under their doctors' Medicare numbers, Waples said.

The median Medicare reimbursement is roughly $30,000, according to the Medical Association of the State of Alabama. However, doctors said high drug costs, using certain types of technology and equipment during specialized treatment and high overhead costs can also factor into the multimillion dollar reimbursement rates.

"Most of it is due to the drugs we purchase," Dr. Richard Jones, a rheumatologist, told the Tuscaloosa News (http://bit.ly/1iJg80k). "The cost of the drug is ascribed to the physician, but that's not what the physician makes."

Jones was reimbursed about $3.9 million from Medicare in 2012 and said some medications patients may need on a weekly or monthly basis can range from $2,000 to $5,000 for individual treatments.

The Tuscaloosa News reported that most Alabama doctors who were reimbursed $1 million or more from Medicare specialized in cancer treatment, rheumatology and ophthalmology.

Dr. Amit Shah, a cardiologist who runs the nuclear stress lab at Cardiology Consultants in Tuscaloosa told the newspaper that in some cases, procedures for other doctors and their patients may also be billed under his name since he's the head of the department.

1
Text Only
State and Nation
Photos


Poll

Which foreign crisis is the biggest threat to the security of the United States?

Russia-Ukraine
Israel-Palestine
Iraq
None of the above
     View Results
Facebook
AP Video
Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction Malaysian PM: Stop Fighting in Ukraine Cantor Warns of Instability, Terror in Farewell Ravens' Ray Rice: 'I Made a Huge Mistake' Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN
Twitter Updates
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Stocks
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Business Marquee