Higher Medicaid pay cuts wait time for breast cancer surgery

When states paid doctors more, women waited less time for breast cancer surgery, according to Michael Halpern, M.D., Ph.D., of Research Triangle Park, North Carolina-RTI International, reports MedPage Today. Halpern analyzed Medicaid claims data from 2006 through 2008 for women ages 18 to 64, who were enrolled in fee-for-service Medicare for at least four months during those years. He found that Medicaid reimbursement was associated with shorter wait times for breast conserving surgery or outpatient mastectomy--the study showed no effect on wait times for inpatient mastectomy. When reimbursement rates are higher, doctors are more likely to take on Medicaid patients, Halpern found. Article