Pediatricians Warn Payment System May Force Them To Stop Accepting Medicaid Patients

CNN Money: Doctors are increasingly turning away from accepting Medicaid patients as the payment system — and an increasing number of Medicaid patients — means they're losing money treating patients. In the Atlanta area, this is evidenced by the closing of two pediatric clinics. "According to the federal government's Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), Medicaid payments to providers typically are lower than what Medicare ... pays providers for services that are comparable, such as sick visits." A CMS spokeswoman said the issue has led to access problems for patients. In Georgia, during a "January survey of 230 pediatricians in the state, 79% said their practice is still open to treating new Medicaid patients. But, when asked what changes their practice would make if the state were to enact another round of Medicaid rate cuts, 57% said they would reduce the number of Medicaid patients and another 27% said they would drop all Medicaid patients." Georgia last cut its Medicaid payment rates in July 2003 by 5 ½ percent (Kavilanz, 3/17).

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