Medicaid Reimbursement Rate Hike Proposed
"An abrupt end to Medicaid-Medicare parity will wipe out the progress of ensuring that low-income Americans have access to primary medical care. A sudden return to grossly inadequate compensation for Medicaid patients' care would threaten to once again close the door on people who have come to know and depend on their primary care physicians."
Molly Weedn, spokeswoman for the California Medical Association, said the rule will encourage more students to enter medical school and choose primary care. "We've endured cut after cut in recent years, and now HHS understands the value that primary care physicians have. And if there's more opportunities for more doctors to treat more patients, that's great because there's a serious workforce shortage across the country, especially in California, and especially in rural areas," she says.
Some hospitals weighed in with positive comments as well, including the Children's Hospital Association, which represents about 220 children's hospitals in the country.
"By including pediatric specialists in the proposed rule, the Administration recognizes that most pediatric specialties are in short supply and facing serious workforce issues," Mark Wietecha, president and CEO of the CHA said in a statement. "A boost in payment level to a Medicare floor will help pediatric physicians to continue to treat children enrolled in Medicaid."
Wietecha said that on average, Medicaid reimburses pediatric providers 30% below Medicare rates for comparable services. "General pediatricians and pediatric specialists provide nearly 60% of all office visits paid for by Medicaid on behalf of people ages 0-21. Additionally, a higher proportion of children with Medicaid have chronic illnesses requiring pediatric specialty services than do non-Medicaid patients."
Cheryl Clark is senior quality editor and California correspondent for HealthLeaders Media. She is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists.
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