Medicaid Patient Access in Mass

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Yesterday the Massachusetts Medical Society released its annual MMS Patient Access to Care Studies.

While the media coverage has focused on the lack of change in wait times across the Commonwealth from last year and the regional issues that remain in the state, there is one subgroup that deserves special mention– those on Medicaid.

Massachusetts has roughly 1.3 million people on MassHealth (Medicaid), and they are having problems seeing a doctor.

Only 62% of family doctors are taking new MassHealth patients and only 53% of Internal Medicine doctors.

2012 MassHealth acceptenceWe are putting more folks on this program under the ACA, and the regional issues are quite pronounced.

Pages 23 and 19 in the report show this.

Only 14% of Barnstable family docs are taking new MassHealth patients.

29% in Bristol

29% in Hampden

22% in Norfolk

That is a very real problem, and demonstrates that having an insurance card is not translating into access to health care. The Legislature has repeatedly cut reimbursement levels and benefits in the MassHealth program, to the point where Medicaid pays only 70 cents of every $1 in care delivered. This financial arrangement has led to cost shifting onto private insurance. Time for reform?