Impact of Shutdown on Docs, Patients Discussed

Impact of Shutdown on Docs, Patients Discussed
Impact of Shutdown on Docs, Patients Discussed

(HealthDay News) -- The shutdown of non-essential government services as of midnight Oct. 1 has led to questions about what the shutdown means for primary care physicians and their patients; answers have been issued in an article published Oct. 1 in Medical Economics.

The shutdown will impact some operations of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, although it is unlikely to affect the meaningful use incentives. The health insurance exchanges, which are not part of the annual appropriation bills to fund the government, are open as planned. For the short term, Medicare reimbursements will continue largely without disruption. The federal portion of funding for Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program was received on Oct. 1, as expected, as this money was appropriated last year.

Other government health care agencies are being affected by the shutdown, with slightly more than half of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' employees furloughed; some agencies with large staffs are furloughing the majority of staff. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's annual flu program will be delayed.

"According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' contingency staffing plan, 40,512 of the department's 78,198 employees -- slightly more than half -- will be furloughed," according to the report.

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