Doctors in Parts of Sonoma County No Longer Eligible for Higher Medicare Reimbursement Rate
Primary care doctors in a portion of southern Sonoma County will lose a 10% Medicare reimbursement bonus in January because the county lost federal designation as a Health Professional Shortage Area, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat reports. Thirty primary care doctors in Petaluma and parts of Cotati and Rohnert Park will be affected by the change.
Petaluma, Cotati and Rohnert Park have been partially eligible for the designation, which provides a 10% bonus as an incentive for doctors to relocate to underserved areas, according to Bill Deane of HFS Consultants. Deane attributed the loss of designation to shifting population densities.
The loss of designation comes after CMS officials declined to reclassify the county as an urban area, which would have increased reimbursements to physicians by 8%, and as Congress considers a 4.4% decrease in Medicare physician reimbursement rates (Norberg, Santa Rosa Press Democrat, 12/1).