More Doctors Decline To Participate in Managed Care
The rate of U.S. physicians who do not participate in managed plans increased to 11.5% in 2004-2005 from 9.2% in 2000-2001 and 8.6% percent in 1998-1999, according to a report released on Thursday by the Center for Studying Health System Change, the AP/Houston Chronicle reports.
The report, which involved telephone interviews with more than 6,600 physicians in the continental U.S, also finds that the rate of ob-gyns who do not participate in managed care plans more than tripled to 11.8% in 2004-2005 from about 3.5% since 1996-97.
According to Ann O'Malley, a senior researcher at HSC and a co-author of the study, physicians often decide not to participate in managed care plans because of low reimbursement rates and paperwork issues. In addition, she said that managed care plans in some cases exclude certain physicians, such as those who are not board certified in their specialties.
Physicians in individual or two-physician practices and those in practice for more than 20 years are less likely to have contracts with managed care companies, according to the study.
O'Malley said that the recent increase in the rate of ob-gyns who do not participate in managed care plans might have resulted from a decrease in the number of ob-gyns who no longer deliver babies, a requirement of some plans.
According to the AP/Chronicle, the report might "signal a trend toward higher patient costs and less access to doctors" (Agovino, AP/Houston Chronicle, 5/4).
The report is available online.