Half of Doctors Listed as Serving Medicaid Patients Are Unavailable, Investigation Finds
DEC. 8, 2014 WASHINGTON —
Large numbers of doctors who are listed as serving Medicaid patients are not available to treat them, federal investigators said in a new report. “Half of providers could not offer appointments to enrollees,” the investigators said in the report, which will be issued on Tuesday....
“When providers listed as participating in a plan cannot offer appointments, it may create a significant obstacle for an enrollee seeking care,” Mr. Levinson said.
“Moreover, it raises questions about the adequacy of provider networks. It suggests that the actual size of provider networks may be considerably smaller than what is presented by Medicaid managedcare plans.”
Investigators called 1,800 providers listed by more than 200 health plans under contract with Medicaid in 32 states. In all cases, insurers confirmed that the doctors were supposed to be taking Medicaid patients. Among the providers who offered appointments, the median wait time was two weeks. (The number of providers above the median is the same as the number below it.)
“Over a quarter of providers had wait times of more than one month, and 10 percent had wait times longer than two months,” the report said.
The delays can have significant implications for patients.
“For example,” the report said, “a number of obstetricians had wait times of more than one month, and one had wait times of more than two months for an enrollee who was eight weeks pregnant. Such lengthy wait times could result in a pregnant enrollee receiving no prenatal care in the first trimester of pregnancy.”
Primary care providers, such as family doctors, internists and gynecologists, were less likely to offer appointments than specialists, the report said. But specialists tended to have longer wait times, with a median wait of 20 days, compared with 10 days for a primary care providerRTWT.
OBAMACARE IS A DISASTER.