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Left to right: Jeff Brannon, CEO, Monroe County Hospital; Norma Mobley, MD, FAAP (pediatrician, Mobile Pediatric Clinic); Allen Perkins, MD, FAAFP (family physician, University of South Alabama College of Medicine).
Families in South Alabama seeking to make a doctor’s appointment will need to plan further in advance in order to see the physician of their choice due to a significant Medicaid cut that went into effect earlier this week.
Pediatricians from Mobile Pediatric Clinic and a family physician from the University of South Alabama College of Medicine joined officials from the Monroe County Hospital and patient advocates for a briefing today to outline the steps their practices are taking as a result of the cuts, and to describe how the changes will affect everyday families, regardless of the insurance they are covered by. Physicians in Auburn, Birmingham, Dothan and Huntsville are holding similar briefings throughout the week.
On Aug.1, the reimbursement the state of Alabama provides to doctors who treat Medicaid patients was reduced by an average of thirty percent. The cut was deemed necessary because the Alabama Medicaid Agency will need an additional $85 million in Fiscal Year 2017 to provide healthcare for the more than one million patients it serves, more than half of which are children. Additional cuts are expected unless more funding is appropriated to Medicaid before the start of the next fiscal year.
The Medicaid cut is forcing doctors across the state to choose between accepting fewer patients, reducing staff, and in some cases, closing their practice. Combined, these changes will mean that for most Alabamians it will be more difficult to book an appointment with a doctor of their choice at a time convenient for their schedule.
Last week, Governor Bentley announced that the Alabama Legislature will return to Montgomery on August 15 to discuss new funding measures. The South Alabama physicians are encouraging all Alabamians to visit IamMedicaid.com to contact state leaders to encourage them to protect Alabama’s healthcare system by reversing this cut and fully funding Alabama Medicaid.
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