National Patient Advocate Foundation Delivers Letter to Colorado Governor Urging Line Item Veto of $17.9 Million Reduction

NPAF Points Out that Providers May Stop Treating Medicaid Patients Due to Inadequate Reimbursement

WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- The National Patient Advocate Foundation (NPAF), a national, non-profit organization dedicated to the mission of creating avenues of improved patient access to health care through public policy reform at the state and federal levels, delivered a letter to Colorado Governor Bill Ritter, urging him to exercise a line item veto of a $17.9 million reduction in Medicaid funding passed recently by the Colorado legislature as part of the fiscal year 2011 budget.

“While we understand the difficult budget challenges facing the State of Colorado, we also know that quality health care begins with patients’ ability to locate a physician and other health care providers to meet their medical needs, and who will accept their insurance,” said Nancy Davenport-Ennis, CEO & Founder, NPAF. “It seems unwise to be reducing Medicaid reimbursements, and consequently the number of providers willing to treat the Medicaid population, just as many new individuals are about to be added to the program.”

As of February 2010, the Colorado state Medicaid program covered 501,596 low-income families and children. From June 2007 to June 2009 the adult enrollment in the Colorado state Medicaid program rose 15.4% compared to a 9.5% national average, and the child enrollment rose 28.4% compared to a 12.1% over the same period nationally. In 2007-2008, 16.2% of the Colorado population was uninsured, including 238,400 adults and 85,800 children who would be eligible for Medicaid in 2014 under the recently passed federal healthcare reform legislation.

The NPAF letter urges Governor Ritter to nullify the nearly $18 million payment cut, which primarily reflects a 1% reimbursement reduction, which NPAF fears could lead to fewer providers willing to accept Medicaid patients. To compound the Medicaid problem, Medicare physicians live under the continual threat of a 21.2% decrease in reimbursements due to the failure of the U.S. Congress to provide a permanent solution to the Medicare reimbursement formula. To add to this uncertainty, a 1% reduction in Medicaid payments and the possibility that the private plans might follow suit would pose a serious threat to access to physicians for the vulnerable Medicaid population.

The advocacy activities of NPAF are informed and influenced by the experience of patients who receive case management services from their companion organization, the Patient Advocate Foundation (PAF), which provides professional case management services to patients with chronic, debilitating or life-threatening conditions. In 2009, PAF resolved 55,384 patient cases, 648 of them from Colorado, and received more than 4 million inquires from patients, including 46,998 from Colorado. Medicaid cases accounted for 7.66% of the Colorado 2009 total patient caseload.

NPAF and its companion organization, the Patient Advocate Foundation (PAF), were established in 1996 on the principle that health care is a basic human need and shared social responsibility. NPAF is dedicated to working with Congress and all levels of government to overcome challenges and create solutions that will allow for high-quality, affordable health care for all. In 2009, PAF case managers assisted 55,384 patients, each with chronic, life-threatening or debilitating conditions struggling to access health care. Additionally, PAF responds to millions of online requests for information or chat line support. For more information see www.npaf.org.



CONTACT:

National Patient Advocate Foundation (NPAF)
Leigh Ann Bradley, 703-548-0019

KEYWORDS:   United States  North America  Colorado  District of Columbia

INDUSTRY KEYWORDS:   Health  Public Policy/Government  Healthcare Reform  Congressional News/Views  Public Policy  State/Local  White House/Federal Government  Managed Care

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