Medical Group Blasts CMS California Medicaid Cuts.

CQ (10/29, Reichard, Subscription Publication)
reported, “The California Medical Association (CMA) blasted a decision by
federal officials” last “week to approve $623 million in Medicaid
cuts that state officials asked for. The group says the cuts will deny poor
people access to doctors, drive many sick Californians into costly emergency
room care and badly weaken the state’s Medicaid system just as millions of
uninsured residents get access to coverage under the federal health care
overhaul law.” In an Oct. 27 statement, the CMS announced, “CMA is
extremely angry with CMS for approving these cuts in light of the overwhelming
access to care problems in the state’s Medi-Cal program,” adding that such
“cuts will unquestionably cause irreparable harm to patients by forcing
physicians out of the Medi-Cal program.”
Medscape (10/29, Lowes) reported that as a
result of the cuts, the CMA “will go to court again to block the latest
cut to already stingy Medicaid reimbursement rates in that state, a CMA leader
said” on Oct. 28. The CMA “contends that the 10% reduction in
provider reimbursement will drive more physicians out of the program and make
it harder for the poor to receive medical care, violating federal requirements
that govern the Medicaid program.” Speaking with Medscape, CMA Vice
Speaker Ted Mazer, MD, stated, “When regulators don’t follow their own
rules, legal action is our only recourse.” The CMA points out that only
about half of California’s physicians participate in Medi-Cal, California’s Medicaid
program, due to low reimbursement rates.
Physicians Across The US Facing Medicaid Reimbursement Cuts. Medscape (10/29, Lowes) reported that it is
not just California where physicians are facing reimbursement cuts for
Medicaid. Across the US, “state Medicaid programs are dealing with the
loss of federal stimulus funds in the current fiscal year with their favorite
belt-tightening move: cutting rates for physicians, hospitals, and nursing
homes, according to a new survey (pdf) by the Kaiser Family Foundation
(KFF).” Just “one state — Alaska — is increasing Medicaid pay for
physicians as state governments attempt to recover from a bruising recession
that has produced an aggregate budget shortfall of $534 billion since fiscal
2009, KFF reports in its annual 50-state survey.”
Physicians Fear Medicare Cuts. The Dayton (OH) Daily News (10/31, Sutherly)
reports, “A large Medicare reimbursement cut in January could affect older
Ohioans’ access to doctors and the amount they pay for health care, industry
observers said.” In addition, the cut “could make it more difficult
for some physicians to remain in private practice, they said.” Should the
30 percent cut take “effect along with a possible two percent payment
reduction from a congressional deficit-reduction plan, patients can anticipate
fewer physicians accepting Medicare. That could reduce Medicare recipients’
access to doctors and lengthening timelines for cancer treatment,” said
Robert Baird, CEO of Dayton Physicians Network, an oncology practice in Ohio.
Some experts believe that some physicians would still accept Medicare as just a
partial payment and would just pass along additional costs to patients.

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