More Physicians Not Accepting New Medi-Cal Beneficiaries, Study Finds
Despite higher reimbursement rates in recent years, almost half of California doctors in 2001 were not willing to accept and treat new Medi-Cal beneficiaries, according to a study released Monday by the California HealthCare Foundation's Medi-Cal Policy Institute, the Oakland Tribune reports. In addition, the study -- using data collected by the Center for the Health Professions at the University of California-San Francisco -- found that Medi-Cal participation rates among specialty physicians were lower than among general practitioners; for example, about 28% of orthopedic surgeons and 38% of endocrinologists accepted new Medi-Cal beneficiaries in 2001. The study also found that the percentage of urban surgery specialists refusing new Medi-Cal beneficiaries doubled from 1988 to around 40% in 2001 and that about 20% of primary care physicians cared for about 80% of Medi-Cal beneficiaries in 2001. According to the report, doctors reported "feeling less hopeful" than in earlier years that reimbursement rates would increase -- few doctors were aware that reimbursement rates had increased in 2000, the Tribune reports. "Often the discussion about Medi-Cal is focused on eligibility. Now we have to ask, what is this health insurance card worth once you get it?" Chris Perrone, deputy director of the Medi-Cal Policy Institute, said (Vesely, Oakland Tribune, 6/17). The report is available online. Note: You must have Adobe Acrobat Reader to view the report.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.