Has the onset of the Affordable Care Act caused you to revisit your policy on accepting Medicaid patients? Newly-eligible individuals and families now have the security of medical coverage, but the increase in patient volume has ramifications for a practice’s manpower and finances.
If you are trying to decide whether or not you should stop accepting Medicaid patients, there are some practical and ethical considerations that ought to guide your answer. Carefully evaluate these ideas before arriving at your final answer.
- What issues do Medicaid patients pose? Lower reimbursement rates are a given, but don’t limit your examination to the financial aspect.
- Is there enough demand for services to fill your schedule? If so, you will also need a marketing plan to attract that business. Keep in mind that it costs more to acquire a new patient than it does to retain a current one.
- Are you comfortable with the concept of denying service to patients based solely on financial means? If you feel a responsibility to the greater good, you may find it difficult to turn away any individual in need.
- Would you consider accepting Medicaid patients up to a capped limit? This is a workable compromise, but it requires a great deal of administrative work. Check with your state and your Medicaid HMOs about their regulations.
- Can you delegate Medicaid patients to new or junior physicians in your office? This is another compromise that has its own set of ethical implications.
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