Number of physicians providing care to medicaid and charity patients declines – Newsletter

Number of physicians providing care to medicaid and charity patients declines – Newsletter – Brief Article

Matthew Neff

According to results of a study by the Center for Studying Health System Change (HSC), the proportion of physicians providing charity care and treating Medicaid patients declined between 1997 and 2001. The study, “Mounting Pressures: Physicians Serving Medicaid Patients and the Uninsured, 1997-2001,” showed that the number of physicians providing charity care declined from 76.3 percent in 1997 to 71.5 percent in 2001, and the percentage of physicians providing treatment to Medicaid patients declined from 87.1 percent to

85.4 percent during that period. The study results also showed that physicians who do treat uninsured and Medicaid patients see very few of these types of patients. Among physicians who provided any charity care in 2001, 70.2 percent spent less than 5 percent of their total practice time on charity care. Among physicians with any Medicaid revenue in 2001, 53.1 percent derived 10 percent or less of their total practice revenue from Medicaid. Physicians also limited the number of new uninsured and Medicaid patients they accepted into their practices; in 2001, 16 percent and 20.9 percent of physicians were not accepting any new uninsured patients and Medicaid patients, respectively, compared with only 3.8 percent and 4.9 percent of physicians who were not accepting any new Medicare patients and privately insured patients, respectively. The study was based on results from HSC’s nationally representative Community Tracking Study Physician and Household Surveys, which involve about 12,000 physicians and 60,000 consumers. The complete report is available online at www.hschange.org/CONTENT/505.

COPYRIGHT 2003 American Academy of Family Physicians

COPYRIGHT 2003 Gale Group