March 6, 2018
Theresa Jacobellis, 631-606-0525

Campaign Launched to Oppose Possible Cuts to Medicaid Payments for Primary Care in NY

NEW YORK, N.Y. – Budget cuts being considered by lawmakers in Albany could include draconian reductions in payments to primary care providers who accept Medicaid in New York State. These small, independent medical practices are an essential part of the safety net providing neighbourhood-based, personalized care to adults and children. But faced with cuts of 33% or more, many will be forced to sell their practices, merge with large health networks or close their doors entirely, according to health business analyst Henry Denis, CEO of HITS Consulting Group in New York City.

Denis has launched “25 Days, 25 Thousand Voices,” a campaign to send a message to state legislators and Governor Andrew Cuomo. His goal is to collect 25,000 signatures on a petition that will be delivered to elected officials in Albany voicing widespread opposition to these cuts and the unintended consequences they could have on small, independent medical practices and the patients who rely on them.

“The economics are straightforward,” said Denis “Independent medical practices simply cannot survive when they are being asked to do more and more while being paid less and less.”

As an example, Denis noted that physicians who participate in the Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) program, the advanced primary care program through which Medicaid participants receive highly coordinated, culturally appropriate and family-centered care, could see a proposed 73.33% reduction in payments for May and June, followed by a permanent reduction of 20% to 33.33% starting in July.

Patients on Medicaid are not the only ones who would be affected. Other patients in these practices, including elderly patients covered by Medicare and those covered by private insurance, could also lose access to their doctors if practices close, merge or are absorbed by large networks.

The “25 Days, 25 Thousand Voices” campaign will use social media and in-person networking to circulate a petition targeting the New York State House, New York State Senate, and Governor Andrew Cuomo. In part, the petition reads: “Reject proposed cuts to Medicaid reimbursement for primary care providers. These funding cuts will force independent doctors who serve poor patients to sell, merge or close their practices, leaving the most vulnerable without access to personalized, family-centred, locally-provided healthcare.”

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