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There is an escalating trend toward federal- and state-legislated Medicare mandatory assignment. Already, six states have mandatory assignment regulations and similar laws are pending in 12 to 15 more states. In Oklahoma, although only 36% of the medical doctors are participating physicians, we voluntarily accepted assignment of benefits on 70% of Part B Medicare claims in 1990. Believing that voluntary agreements are preferable to governmental edicts, the Very Important Person (VIP) program was established in 1986 by the Tulsa (Okla) County Medical Society. It has since been adopted by the Oklahoma State Medical Association and received official recognition from the American Medical Association (Chicago, Ill).
When used properly, the VIP program enables physicians to accurately identify individuals who need special consideration in obtaining their medical care because of limited resources. In other words, it serves to differentiate those financially needy Medicare patients from those who are as able as the
CAMPBELL JG, RHODES RE. Preserving Access With Dignity for the Elderly: Tulsa's VIP Program. Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1991;117(5):488–489. doi:10.1001/archotol.1991.01870170034006
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