Medicaid Provider Rate Cut Still Possible

The $18 million dollar cut, detailed in last week’s Action Alert to Medicaid provider rate reimbursement has not been fully addressed, but thanks to hundreds of emails and phone calls from NCMS members, the House has included a provision that allows debate on this issue to continue.  The House provision provides the Department of Health and Human Services with limited flexibility to achieve the targeted budget reductions.  NCMS as well as other specialty societies believe that this is not enough to ensure physician rates will be restored to the original intent of the 2009 General Assembly.

Physicians from the Forsyth County Medical Society attended White Coat Wednesday this week and delivered your concerns to House and Senate members. The small group of physicians built upon their already positive relationships with legislators developed over years of regular dialogue, both at home and in Raleigh.

Alan Koontz, MD said, “We were well received and the legislators thought we had a valid point.  Their intention was never for the 9% reduction to continue indefinitely into the future.”  The delegation also pointed out that reduced access in physician’s offices would lead to a ballooning of costs as Medicaid patients would begin seeking care through the Emergency Department.   Dr. Koontz added, “This is not the way that our State should be preparing to care for this needy population.”

Of even greater concern, the current budget proposals include $500 million dollars in additional federal stimulus money that has yet to be approved by Congress.  It has been widely reported that members of the NC congressional delegation do not believe that there is the political will in Washington to extend this state subsidy.  The elimination of this funding would mean a steep reduction in the amount of matching funds that NC can collect for services provided through Medicaid. 

While NCMS continues to advocate for no further cuts to Medicaid rates, we are also working hard to defend against an unfair apportionment of the $500 million in additional cuts on Health and Human Services.  This is going to be a battle that will continue right up to the last minute of this legislative session.  NCMS needs every member to reach out to their State Senator and State Representative to make sure that your voice is heard in this debate.  Watch for additional action alerts coming in the week ahead to provide you with updated talking points.

NCMS Video Shows Doctors Care

This week, the NCMS sent legislators a short video explaining how much free care doctors in North Carolina provide to their patients each year. It is important that legislators know much physicians care for their patients, and the sacrifices they make to ensure that people who need care receive it.  View the video.


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