Collaboration is Key to Improving Health Insurance Coverage

In 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the the Medicaid program into law as a part of Title XIX of the Social Security Act Amendments. Today, Medicaid covers one in five low-income Americans, as the majority of enrollees lack access to affordable health insurance. Each state administers the Medicaid program and must comply with federal standards. Amongst the successes and failures of the landmark legislation, misunderstandings persist. States have flexibility in determining covered populations, covered services, delivery models and reimbursement. They are also guaranteed federal matching dollars for services to beneficiaries, so the Medicaid program is financed jointly by federal… Full Story

Survey from Dallas Firm Says Physicians Favor Work Requirements for Medicaid Beneficiaries

About 57 percent of physicians take a “very favorable” view of new federal work requirements for Medicaid benefits that call for able-bodied beneficiaries to be employed or engaged in job searches or job training, according to a survey from Dallas-based physician search firm Merritt Hawkins. Another 18 percent say they’re “somewhat favorable” of the new rules, meaning three in four physicians overall are for the requirements. The results come from a one-question national survey by Merritt Hawkins, which received 667 responses. About 10 states have proposed work requirements, and the requests have been approved in Indiana, Kentucky, and Arkansas. Kentucky’s… Full Story

GAO: Medicaid Offices Experiencing Difficulty Finding Providers for Patients

After conducting a survey of the District of Columbia, U.S. states and five territories, the Government Accountability Office reports that Medicaid offices are experiencing difficulty in finding enough dentists, specialists, primary-care doctors, and other providers to care for Medicaid patients. The shortage is most acute for dentists,  reported by 30 surveyed Medicaid officials . Specialists came in second, with 26 surveyed officials reporting them as a challenge, followed by mental health and substance abuse providers and primary-care physicians participation by 17 of the surveyed Medicaid officials. Between 2008 and 2011, more than half of U.S. states reported maintaining or decreasing… Full Story

TMA: More Texas Doctors Abandoning Medicaid and Medicare

Cedar Hill orthopedic surgeon Stephen Ozanne had not accepted Medicaid patients in the past, but decided he would try to accept two a month. Things quickly unraveled. He found his patients had transportation problems getting to the office and tended not to follow prescribed treatment. He also found Medicaid’s reimbursement process cumbersome. He calculated that he spent $500 in staff time to collect less than $50. End of experiment. Ozanne, the former president of the Dallas County Medical Society (DCMS), is not alone. Texas physicians are turning their backs on Medicaid and Medicare in growing numbers. According to a recent Texas… Full Story

Morning Rounds (08.09.12)

Parkland says it has completed about 70 percent of the tasks on its corrective action plan. Tenet‘s stock climbed nearly 3 percent Wednesday, after the company reported its 2Q results. PwC offers tips for treating patients like a valued customer. HHS: Electronic payments could save hospitals $9 billion. Children with Crohn’s Disease may benefit from new treatment.  

Morning Rounds (08.08.12)

Children’s Medical Center levels up patient’s gaming systems and electronics with $150,000 gift from MMK Foundation. One-third of doctors declined to take new Medicaid patients in 2011. New HHS rule may save up to $9 billion over the next 10 years and give doctors more time with patients. The Institute of Medicine wants doctors’ Medicare pay to reflect city population. HIPAA has changed; new compliance training can be found online.  

Morning Rounds (08.03.12)

Medicare payments to acute-care hospitals expected to increase by 2.3 percent in FY 2013. Three tips for avoiding potential hospital M&A land mines. See photos of Texas Health Southwest’s spruced-up ER waiting area and triage rooms. More hospitals are deciding to participate in ACO programs; several pioneers, including Baylor, share their experiences. One view on how Latinos in Texas will be affected by Rick Perry’s Medicaid decision.  

Morning Rounds (08.02.12)

Dallas-based HealthCap capitalizaes Restora Healthcare Holdings to fund acquisition of Trillium Specialty Hospitals in Phoenix. Study at UT Southwestern suggests new treatment for brain tumors. Medical City lactation consultants and nurses to take part in mass breastfeeding event in Dallas on Saturday. NEJM on how to cut hospital costs without payment reforms. As Texas physicians who treat new Medicaid patients drops to all-time low of 31 percent, TMA looks for realistic solutions.