by Brent Hunsberger | For The Oregonian/OregonLive
October 10, 2015
C.J. Reynolds is grateful for the care she's received at Oregon Health & Science University. But any time she's referred outside the system, the 69-year-old Portlander crosses her fingers.
"I've had a heck of a time if I go outside OHSU looking for any kind of specialist, finding a doctor who will take standard Medicare, and that's a real problem," Reynolds said.
Things might only get worse for millions of patients nationwide who, like Reynolds, rely on original Medicare rather than buying a Medicare Advantage plan.
Three large doctors' practices employing more than 80 primary-care providers in the Portland area recently have decided to stop taking new Medicare-eligible patients unless they've enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan. The clinics join others that have already stopped taking Medicare-only patients.
That leaves seniors relying on traditional Medicare, even those with Medigap supplement plans, with a more challenging search when seeking care. Some fear it could discourage them from seeking care they need.
"It's going to cause a lot of consternation," said Brian Proski, billing coordinator for Westside Internal Medicine in Portland, one of the clinics making the change. "It's going to cause frustration. But there's not much we can do about it."