CBSN

Medicare-Accepting Doctors Vanishing in Texas

generic doctor dr health symbol surgeon pediatrician
CBS/ AP
Experts blame declining Medicare reimbursement for hundreds of Texas doctors dropping out of the federal health care program for senior citizens.

The Houston Chronicle reported Tuesday that more than 300 Texas doctors have dropped the program in the last two years, including 50 in the first three months of 2010.

Primary care doctors are dropping out in the greatest numbers, a field where physicians are already in short supply in the state and around the country, according to the report. Psychiatrists also make up a significant portion of doctors opting out.

The Texas Medical Association, which did the survey, said the numbers far exceeded their assumptions.

Dr. Susan Bailey, president of the Texas Medical Association, says if Congress doesn't fix Medicare soon, there will be more and more doctors dropping out. She says the congressional promise to provide medical care to seniors "will be broken."

"This new data shows the Medicare system is beginning to implode," she told the Chronicle.

The opt-outs follow years of declining Medicare reimbursement that led to a looming 21 percent cut this year.