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Monday, April 2, 2012

HUNDREDS RALLY TO STOP DUAL-ELIGIBLE CUTS

Hundreds of patients, physicians, and office staff joined forces in McAllen (watch video) urging state legislators to rescind budget cuts that are harming access to care for thousands of dual-eligible patients — those who qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid. Later that evening, about 130 South Texas physicians gathered at a House Call on the topic, sponsored by TMA and the Hidalgo-Starr County Medical Society. (Watch House Call video.) Deputy Health and Human Services Commissioner Billy Millwee, fielding questions and complaints at the evening event, pledged to work to provide “some relief”to the cuts. Texas’ new payment policy on services physicians provide to dual-eligible patients has created a medical emergency across the state. The problem has been particularly acute in the Rio Grande Valley, where severe poverty makes so many Medicare patients eligible for Medicaid as well. Because the Texas Legislature mandated the cuts last year, the Health and Human Services Commission has no authority to reverse them entirely without direction from the Legislative Budget Board, which is composed of senior leaders from the House and Senate. You can help by signing our online petition.

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