ZEPHYRHILLS — When Florida Medical Clinic’s director of special procedures wrote to U.S. Rep. Gus M. Bilirakis, she wasn’t sure what kind of response she would get.
In her letter, Sandra Harris expressed concern about what she felt were unjust Medicare reimbursement practices and asked him to come for a tour. On Thursday morning, Bilirakis took the opportunity to look over the newly expanded facility and talk with personnel about the Medicare issue.
“I had written him a letter when Medicare had decided to change the rates again for a freestanding ambulatory surgery center; however, they increased the rate they are giving the hospital outpatient surgery centers,” Harris said.
“If I can do it for less money, why is Medicare paying the hospital more than they are paying us?”
Florida Medical Clinic CEO Colleen Cuffe said that Medicare reimbursements to freestanding ambulatory surgery centers are 56.95 percent of what hospitals receive for the same procedures.
In addition, Harris said the hospitals can get supplies less expensively.
Bilirakis spent about 45 minutes touring the facility and talking with staff about their services and the Medicare issue.
Bilirakis said he would make an effort to help with the Medicare issue.
“We’re going to try, we’re going to try,” he said. “All we want is fairness right? A level playing field,” he said.
The congressman said he was impressed with the facility.
FMC medical director Chandresh Saraiya said that if FMC is going to follow a nationwide charge to lower medical costs, they will need assistance.
Harris was pleased with the outcome.
“I was really excited. I think he might be able to help,” she said.