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One in Three New Medicaid Patients Denied by Physicians in 2011

In a recent survey conducted by the Center for Disease Control, it was discovered that nearly one out of every three physicians had denied new Medicaid patients because of the program’s low reimbursement rates.

The report, published in Health Affairs, surveyed 4,326 physicians and found that approximately 31% of providers would not accept new Medicaid patients. Specialists and primary care providers followed the trend and denied the same percentage of Medicaid beneficiaries.

Economist Sandra Decker of the CDC found that when states paid physicians higher rates to see Medicaid patients, the number of patients increased. In rural states such as Alaska and Wyoming, physicians were more likely to accept Medicaid patients because reimbursements rates are 50% higher than those for Medicare. In contrast to states like New Jersey, where Medicaid reimbursements are the lowest, roughly 30% of physicians accepted new patients.

Overall, Decker concluded that physicians’ acceptance of new Medicaid beneficiaries will increase as payment rates increase. This trend will be interesting to watch when federal health expands the program and boosts Medicaid reimbursement rates in 2013 and 2014. According to Decker, participation in the Medicaid program could rise to 78.6%, an increase of 8.6% from 2011.

For the full report, click here. For other details, view this article on California Healthline .

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