Providence Hospital Opens New Medicare Clinic
The Department of Health and Social Services says in the past, very few primary care doctors in Anchorage would accept Medicare patients.
The Anchorage Neighborhood Health Center in Fairview used to be one of the only options for local Medicare patients.
Some say, there's now hope for alternative providers.
A new clinic has opened up in providence and it accepts Medicare.
“This is a huge asset to Anchorage and the Medicare population,” said Jeanne Larson, Deputy Director For the Medicare Information Office.
The Department of Health and Social Services says in the past it has had to be the bearer of bad news, telling those 65 and older eligible for the federal health program, very few primary care doctors in Anchorage would accept them.
“Medicare reimbursement rates are very low in comparison to the medical costs here in Alaska and with health care costs continuing to rise and the aging population growing and becoming Medicare eligible, there's just not enough primary care doctors locally to treat all the patients,” said Larson.
Larson says the doctors that are available are reluctant to take on patients, because of those low reimbursement rates, intricate billing and dealing with the possibility of Medicare fraud.
Now officials say things are looking up for Medicare patients.
“It's a wonderful feeling, it's a wonderful feeling to provide them hope, to give us hope in the future that there will be other clinics like this open soon,” said Larson.
The Senior Care Clinic located in suite 314 at Providence Hospital comes as a welcome surprise to some, but others think it’s well overdue.
67 -year- old Janet Lyons says she feels forced into having Medicare and it's about time Anchorage has more provider options.
“You can't find a doctor that's going to treat you anymore, if you got Medicare, they don't want to treat you,” said Lyons.
Medical personal from the Anchorage Senior Center say they are breathing a sigh relief.
“ I am so happy, because I am the nurse here and that was one of my biggest problems of trying to help people find a physician or nurse practitioner to take care of them,” said Kathy Roberts, Nurse for the Anchorage Senior Center.
Medicare officials say there will be at least one more similar clinic coming to Anchorage in the future.
When that is going to happen is still up in the air.
To learn about Medicare you can call 1-800-478-6065