Oncologists say cancer care is in crisis

The Montgomery Cancer Center is calling for action!

In a letter addressing its patients, the practice points out critical care that could be eliminted if an annual pay scale is passed by the government.

Dr. Harry Barnes, III, MD says, "Its going to be difficult, if not impossible to help patients."

If the proposed pay scale isn't changed by Congress, Barnes says the 21.5% cut in Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement will dramatically affect the way 80% of cancer patients are treated by oncology pratices like the Montgomery Cancer Center...

"If these cuts go through we will have to cut services like chemo in office, and close clinics which will make longer wait times and drives."

The cancer center is already feeling the affects of the current cuts for the 2009 fiscal year, forcing the practice to downsize its staff due to lack of funding.

"We actually had to let a few of our employees go, it's the first time Ive had to do that in 28 years."

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services is required by law to set the pay scale according to a formula developed by the government.

The proposed pay scale must be published for 60 days, allowing the public to comment on the rule.

WSFA 12 News contacted the concerning the the 21.5% percent cut:

"CMS is reviewing all the comments received on this proposal, and we'll issue a final rule based on its review of these comments. We take all comments very seriously, and they often do have a comment on the final rule. CMS can do nothing about the 21.5% cut that is currently required by law, only Congress can change that." -CMS Spokesperson