14 Nov Declining Medicaid Fees Translates To Fewer Available Primary Care Appointments
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Molly Candon, PhD
Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics
Center for Mental Health Policy and Services Research
University of Pennsylvania
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: We conducted a secret shopper study in 2012, 2014, and 2016 in which simulated Medicaid patients called primary care practices and attempted to schedule an appointment. When Medicaid fees were increased to Medicare levels in 2013 and 2014, primary care appointment availability increased. Once the federally-funded program ended in 2015, most states returned to lower fees. As expected, provider participation in Medicaid declined as well.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: As states contend with budget shortfalls, reimbursement rates in Medicaid may fall further. Lower fees will only exacerbate the barriers faced by Medicaid patients, but higher fees can help ensure that their coverage actually translates into care.
MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Response: According to Speaker Ryan, “people on Medicaid can’t get a doctor, and if you can’t get a doctor, what good is your coverage?” According to our study, people on Medicaid can get a doctor – so long as we’re willing to pay for it.
MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.
Candon M, Zuckerman S, Wissoker D, Saloner B, Kenney GM, Rhodes K, Polsky D. Declining Medicaid Fees and Primary Care Appointment Availability for New Medicaid Patients. JAMA Intern Med. Published online November 13, 2017. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2017.6302
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