Doctors Signed Up To Participate in Medi-Cal Not Taking New Patients
Doctors signed up to participate in Medi-Cal are not treating beneficiaries of the program because physicians maintain that reimbursement rates are inadequate, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reports.
Medi-Cal is California's Medicaid program.Â
For fiscal year 2008-2009, 110,000 doctors statewide have agreed to participate in Medi-Cal, up from about 104,000 in the 2006 budget year, according to the California Department of Health Care Services.
About 6.5 million Californians are enrolled in Medi-Cal.
California Medical Association President Dev GnanaDev said DHCS' physician enrollment statistics are misleading because of the number of doctors who do not accept new Medi-Cal patients.
Stan Rosenstein -- chief deputy director of DHCS -- said that it is not clear how many doctors signed up to participate in Medi-Cal are declining to see patients.
According to the Press-Enterprise, physicians do not have to notify DHCS if they decide not to accept additional Medi-Cal beneficiaries as patients.
Last year, the state's Legislative Analyst Office found that Medi-Cal payment rates were about 60% of those paid by Medicare and recommended that lawmakers raise rates to 80% of those paid by Medicare.
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, in the 2005-2006 fiscal year, California spent $2,701 per Medicaid beneficiary, below the national average of $4,662 per Medicaid beneficiary.Rosenstein said that that the state currently does not have sufficient revenue to increase Medi-Cal payments (Hines, Riverside Press- Enterprise, 11/19). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.