Medicaid Cuts Cause for Concern in Texas

Nov 25, 2011, 09:18 by R.E. Christian

Physician groups in Texas say proposed cuts in government healthcare reimbursement rates would hurt the poorest Texas patients, most of them children.

While the state would save millions with cuts in co-payments to physicians for people covered by both Medicaid and Medicare, doctors say the proposed change will further push doctors from wanting to practice in less affluent parts of the state.

"It's another small step in the direction of making it harder to practice medicine in Texas," Dr. Dee Dockery, a radiologist and councilor with the Texas Radiological Society, told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram Monday.

The proposed cuts will "come at the expense of the health and well-being of some of the state's most vulnerable citizens," said Dr. C. Bruce Malone, president of the Texas Medical Association.

Therapists also stand to lose millions of dollars as Medicaid reimbursement rates for their services are slashed.

The average reduction for home health providers, for example, would be 35 percent. In total, the state proposal would cut $150 million a year for therapists, 19 percent of the $792 million they received last year.

"We understand that major rate changes can be difficult for our providers," Texas Health and Human Services Commission spokeswoman Stephanie Goodman said. "It's our hope that we can work with the provider community to come up with options that keep our Medicaid rates in line with other payers and allow providers to continue to serve our Medicaid clients."

Source: UPI