Medi-Cal Payment Cuts Will Push Doctors Out of Program, Survey Finds
On July 1, physicians statewide will see a 10% cut in their reimbursements for Medi-Cal patients and nearly two-thirds of physicians surveyed in Alameda and Contra Costa counties said they will either decrease or stop seeing Medi-Cal patients, the Contra Costa Times reports. Medi-Cal is California's Medicaid program.
The Alameda-Contra Costa Medical Association recently surveyed 193 physicians and found that:
- 45% do not see Medi-Cal patients;
- 33% said they would reduce their hours with Medi-Cal beneficiaries; and
- 29% said they would stop participating in Medi-Cal.
Fifty-six percent of the physicians surveyed said they would stop accepting new Medi-Cal beneficiaries as patients.
Juan Ordonez, the association's president, said, "The care will be delayed and the patients will go where they can be seen -- and that's an emergency" department.
The 10% cut in reimbursements is expected to save about $614 million in state funds annually, the Times reports.
A coalition of physician groups, including the California Medical Association, California Hospital Association and California Dental Association, earlier this month sued to block the cuts.
In addition to the reimbursement cuts, other reductions proposed last week include:
- Eliminating dental benefits for adult Medi-Cal patients;
- Ending coverage for audiology, optometry, podiatry, speech therapy, psychology, chiropractic care and other nonmandatory benefits for Medi-Cal patients; and
- Reducing the income eligibility levels for enrollees in Medi-Cal (Kleffman, Contra Costa Times, 5/17).