Slash In Medi-Cal Coverage Makes Medical Care For The Poor Questionable

by Medindia Content Team on  January 4, 2006 at 4:47 PM General Health News   - G J E 4
Slash In Medi-Cal Coverage Makes Medical Care For The Poor Questionable
Medi-Cal coverage was given to poor residents of California. But now the state is slashing 5% of the Medi-Cal coverage reimbursements given to the doctors treating patients with the Medi-Cal coverages. This has raised a lot of doubts and questions about the Medi-Cal coverages. Now 50% of the doctors have stated to avoid treating these patients and these patients (6.8 million) now have to look out for new doctors for their treatment.

The slash was introduced in the present budget as a means to improve the economy of the state. The law for the slash has been kept on hold by the California Medical Association and other groups. But the law makers on the other hand decided that the slashed Medi-Cal program would come in to effect this week.

Pediatrician Brian Blaisch is the only exception, he treats exclusively Medi-Cal patients in east Oakland. He states that by the new law that has come into effect his life has become very difficult and he struggles to make ends meet. He is paid $26 for each patient, $5.05 for each eye examination (child) and $2.54 for an adult. $13 for youth covered in the program. On the other hand doctors charge $150 for each patient who doesn't fall under the Medi-Cal program.

In the evening he travels to Martinez at Contra Costa Regional Medical Center to help keep his practice afloat. He also stated that supplies and employee benefits that have to be paid are going up except for the rates of reimbursement which always goes downhill. He says the entire system is dysfunctional as we the doctors are receiving the same amount of salary that they received 15 years ago and he is very ashamed about it.

Stan Rosenstein, deputy director of medical care services for the state health department says that there are very limited number of ways by which they can slash down the money spent on medical care services. Medi-Cal is the second-largest expenditure next to education. It takes about 15% of the state fund budget. He said that the population covered by the state is second greatest next to New York. But so far the patient's eligibility and the benefits are not affected.

If these cuts were extended till the next year then it would make a profit of $68 million to the state fund. There were also lots of complaints that it was difficult for a poor person to find a Medi-Cal providing doctor. But the deputy director refutes it by showing that he number of doctors enrolled for Medi-Cal services have actually increased But Blaisch disagreed with this number he said that many of the doctors registered under the program treat only 5 or 6 patients from 1500 patients others may not provide for those patients also.

Oakland resident Melodie Bosley tells that she had a very bad experience in searching out for a Medi-Cal service doctor as the doctor she was referring to had retired. She still possesses a list of doctors from whom she received a NO.

She was without a doctor for a year and then found Dr. Blaisch for her daughters. The Californian Medical Association tells that the number of physicians available to the Medi-Cal patients is approximately 33% less than for the general public. The number for specialists accepting Medi-Cal patients is about 50 percent less than for the general population, surgeons two-thirds less.

Blaisch main concern at the moment is that due to this slash a large number of doctors would not treat Medi-Cal patients and because of this patients themselves will go in for a doctor in case of serious conditions. His will further burden the state spending more money.

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