Doctors blast slow pace of Medicaid raise

The delay in a pay raise for Medicaid doctors in Georgia is “inexcusable and unacceptable,’’ physician groups say.

On Thursday, an email letter to Jerry Dubberly, the state Medicaid chief, urged the state Department of Community Health and vendor HP “to accelerate the process to resolve the IT readiness problems that are reportedly responsible for this significant delay.’’

As Georgia Health News reported Wednesday, almost all states are expected to start the pay raise for Medicaid primary care doctors this summer, but Georgia is projecting a November startup. Doctor groups have voiced frustration with the delay, which they contend is hampering patients’ access to care.

The letter was signed by leaders of the Medical Association of Georgia, the Georgia Academy of Family Physicians, the Georgia chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the Georgia chapter of the American College of Physicians.

“What is especially frustrating is that HP has, or will in the next several weeks, already administered the pay increase in a number of neighboring states, including Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, South Carolina, Florida, and North Carolina,’’ the letter said.

“The implication is that Medicaid patients and physicians simply aren’t a priority in Georgia,’’ the physician groups’  letter added.

The pay raise is required under the health reform law, and would bring doctors’ Medicaid pay up to the level of Medicare reimbursement. It was supposed to have begun Jan. 1.

Community Health said in an email statement Wednesday to GHN that the increase has been delayed because the agency and HP “are working to ensure the integrity of the financial payment and accounting for the add-on payments to withstand the financial audits that the federal government will conduct.”

Here is a link to the doctor groups’ letter.