TMA and 17 state specialty societies called on the Legislative Budget Board (LBB) to “take bold action” to increase “utterly inadequate physician payment rates” in Texas Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). In written testimony we asked LBB to:
- Maintain Medicare parity in the 2016-17 state budget for primary care physicians currently receiving those higher rates. Congress enacted and funded the higher rates, but without legislative or congressional action, that increase will expire Dec. 31, 2014.
- Extend the parity payments for primary care to services provided via CHIP.
- Establish competitive Medicaid and CHIP payment rates for physician specialties that are not included in the Medicare parity increase.
- Reverse the 8-percent payment reduction for physician assistants and advanced practice registered nurses practicing under physician supervision. The cut, which will take effect in early 2015, will undermine Texas’ efforts to promote team-based models of care, an essential element of reforming the Medicaid delivery system.
The testimony cites preliminary data from TMA’s 2014 physician survey, which indicates only 34 percent of physicians accept all new Medicaid patients, a 33-point decrease since 2000. TMA says “grossly inadequate payment is the single overriding reason physicians cite for why they or their colleagues limit or no longer participate in Medicaid.” LBB, chaired by House Speaker Joe Straus and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, sets the base state budget bill from which lawmakers will start working when they convene in Austin in January.