Slow payment appears to discourage physicians from seeing new Medicaid patientseven in states with relatively high Medicaid reimbursementaccording to a Center for Studying Health System Change report posted online by the journal Health Affairs. Center researchers Peter Cunningham and Ann OMalley studied how 4,900 physicians in 21 states responded not only to how much they were paid by their states Medicaid program, but also by how quickly they were paid. Citing previous research that found that nationally about half of all doctors are accepting new Medicaid patients compared with more than 70% for new privately insured or Medicare patients, the authors compared how physician Medicaid participation was affected by how much and how fast they were paid by their respective state programs. In states with higher and faster reimbursement, 64% of physicians were accepting new Medicaid patients. In states with high fees but slow reimbursement, only 50.9% of doctors were taking new Medicaid patients. For states with low but fast payment, 48.4% of physicians were seeing new Medicaid patients. And, in states classified as low and slow-paying, only 43.2% of doctors were seeing new Medicaid patients.
Slow payment deters docs from accepting new Medicaid patients
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