doctors

The number of doctors who each prescribe millions of dollars of medications annually in Medicare's drug program has soared, driven by expensive hepatitis C treatments and rising drug prices overall, federal data obtained by ProPublica show.

The number of providers who topped the $5 million mark for prescriptions increased more than tenfold, from 41 in 2011 to 514 in 2015. The number of prescribers — mostly physicians but also nurse practitioners — exceeding $10 million in drug costs jumped from two to 70 over the same time period, according to the data.

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Whether or not your doctor stays in business over the next few years could hinge on their ability to adapt to a new regulation changing how Medicare pays doctors and clinicians.

Is your doctor your go-to for nutrition advice? Neither is mine. And why would I expect that?

Say you bought health insurance through the federal health exchange, paid the premiums and followed the rules.

And then say you start having pain in your hands. Your doctor refers you to a rheumatologist to test for arthritis.

But when you search for the specialist, there isn't one there.

As Kentucky officials continue to implement the provisions of the Affordable Care Act, doctors are preparing for a rush of new patients in every sector of the health care industry.

Seven Counties Services CEO Tony Zipple says at least 25 percent of uninsured Americans have behavioral issues that need attention. And once the Affordable Care Act takes effect, he's expecting to see a flood of newly-insured patients seeking treatments.

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Some Kentucky doctors are expressing concerns about new state regulations requiring them to meet tougher prescription standards in an effort to stop drug abuse.  Dr.