Medicaid, Anyone?

In my prior post I highlighted some of the problems with Medicaid, the joint state and federal health coverage for the poor. In case you might think that physicians won’t participate simply because the reimbursement is so poor (which would certainly be reason enough), check this out, from my state medical society today:

The WSMA has complained to both the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Region X and the Washington Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) about the egregiously burdensome requests made of physicians’ practices by the Audit Medicaid Integrity Contractor (MICs). CMS has awarded the Medicaid audit contract for Washington to Health Management Services (HMS) of Irvine, Texas.

HMS is making unrealistic requests of practices in preparation of “field audits:” An eight page detailed request for information on each of the practice’s “providers,” with a 15 calendar day deadline; complete medical records on claims selected for audit, in some cases hundreds of records, and for records dating back to January 2004. Even worse, the lengthy list of records requested does not include patients’ names, only identification numbers and dates of birth!

So, let’s see: Medicaid pays far less than the cost of providing care, and often take 6 months to pay that poor pittance. For those dwindling number of physicians foolish enough to remain in this system, they pursue aggressive audits which require enormous amount of practice resources in response, and then, after such an audit, almost certainly will require large “refunds” of money “fraudulently” paid to physicians, who have failed to master the Byzantine and inscrutable regulations which no mere mortal can understand, much less comply with.

Is it any wonder that physicians are are heading for the lifeboats of this sinking vessel?

So, let’s move the uninsured in large numbers into this very same system, shall we?

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