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Medicaid providers tough to find for many states, report says


By Melanie Evans
Posted: November 18, 2012 - 12:01 am ET
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More than half of U.S. states and territories surveyed earlier this year by the Government Accountability Office reported it was a challenge to find enough dentists, specialists, primary-care doctors or other providers to care for Medicaid patients, a newly released report said.

The online survey of the District of Columbia, U.S. states and five territories, conducted between February and May, found dentists were the most problematic provider, with 30 surveyed Medicaid officials who reported a challenge ensuring enough were participating in Medicaid. Twenty-six Medicaid officials named specialists as a challenge. Mental health and substance abuse provider participation was a challenge for 17 of the surveyed Medicaid officials, and the same was true for primary care, the report said.

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States, the District of Columbia and territories reported a shortage of providers and low Medicaid payment as the top factors that influence provider participation, the GAO said.

To hold onto or attract providers, Medicaid officials reported strategies including changes such as more streamlined enrollment and efforts to reduce administrative burdens and increase the speed of claims. Nineteen Medicaid officials reported an increase in payments or financial incentives as part of efforts to hold onto providers and 11 said they did the same to boost participation.


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