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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

PHYSICIAN LEADERS: MEDICAID AND CHIP CUTS WILL BACKFIRE

Leaders of organized medicine in Texas warned state officials that further cuts in payments to physicians for treating patients in Medicaid and in the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) will only make it harder for patients to find the medical care they need. And that, they say, will increase, not decrease, costs. TMA President Sue Bailey, MD, and the presidents of the specialty societies representing anesthesiologists, cardiologists, emergency physicians, family physicians, gastroenterologists, internists, neurologists, obstetricians and gynecologists, ophthalmologists, orthopedists, otolaryngologists, pathologists, pediatricians, psychiatrists, radiologists, and urologists, as well as the president of the Texas Medical Group Management Association, signed the letter to the Texas Health and Human Service Commission (PDF). The 1-percent cut for Medicaid and CHIP physician services planned for Feb. 1, they said, “will result in more physicians restricting their Medicaid participation, thus exacerbating the challenges patients face in finding a participating physician.” The cut could cost the state money, they said, “because more patients will have no choice but to rely on costly hospital emergency rooms for care.”

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