Most Medicaid docs haven't received promised 2013 pay raise

Few Medicaid doctors have received their promised 2013 pay raise, which was slated to begin in January under the Affordable Care Act, even though the government has given its approval to 48 states to start paying higher rates.

Kaiser Health News reports that the increase for primary care services will be a nationwide average of 73 percent, according to a 2012 Kaiser Family Foundation (KFN) study. A spokeswoman from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid services told KFN that every state but California and Alaska is expected to implement the pay raise this summer.

Alaska paid the higher rates before the law was implemented, and according to KFN, the Obama administration is still considering California's application. California hopes to begin paying the higher rates this fall, and the change would be significant--currently, its Medicaid reimbursements are some of the lowest in the U.S.

Matt Salo, executive director of the National Association of Medicaid Directors, told KHN states are frustrated about the delay of the two-year pay raise, originally meant to entice more doctors to treat Medicaid patients. "It's been slow to roll out … and it'll be gone less than 18 months after it starts," he said.

"CMS said that when states do implement the provision, doctors will be able to get the higher fees retroactively to Jan. 1. ," according to the article. "But many states set deadlines for April or May for doctors to self-attest that they are primary care physicians willing to accept Medicaid patients in order to get the retroactive pay."

In March, it was announced that the Department of Health and Human Services will fund 100 percent of the Medicaid expansion for three years.

To learn more:
- read the Kaiser Health News article
- here's the study

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