Feds want to raise Medicaid payment ratesby Elizabeth Stawicki, Minnesota Public Radio
ST. PAUL, Minn. — The federal government is proposing to temporarily raise Medicaid payment rates for primary care doctors in Minnesota and nationwide.
The raises would put Medicaid on par with Medicare payment rates.
Minnesota's physicians have long complained that they can't afford the losses associated with treating Medicaid patients because the government's payments are so low.
Medicaid is a joint federal and state program, which provides health care for the elderly in nursing homes, the poor and children. Janet Silversmith, director of Department of Health Policy of the Minnesota Medical Association, said the proposed 22 percent fee increase for Minnesota would significantly help.
"We are increasingly concerned about the fragility of the finances of the primary care practices to keep their doors open and to continue to see Medicaid patients," she said.
Silversmith said higher rates would give doctors optimism for those two years but also some concern since the they would eventually expire.
"What happens after 2014 I don't know," she said. "But we as an organization will be working with the Legislature to remind them of the importance of continuing to invest in a program that more and more Minnesotans are going to be relying on."
The higher payments are funded through the federal health care law and would take effect in 2013 and 2014.