The Post and Courier, June 7, 2011

Payments to South Carolina's doctors for treating Medicaid patients will be reduced by up to 7% as the state cuts about $125 million from the program, officials announced Monday. Medicaid patients -- generally poor and disabled -- also will pay more for some visits. On July 1 their co-payments will go from $2.30 to $3.30, the maximum allowed by federal law, for doctor, clinic, home health and optometrist visits. Reimbursement rates to doctors, dentists and most hospitals will be cut July 8 for a second time this year. In April, rates were reduced 3%. The reductions will not affect Hilton Head Hospital, Beaufort Memorial Hospital or Coastal Carolina Hospital in Hardeeville, which are among 24 hospitals exempted from the cuts. Because they serve proportionally more Medicaid patients, reducing their reimbursement rates would be a greater hardship for them, state officials said. For the other hospitals, the reimbursement-rate reduction will be 4%.

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