136,000 patients in limbo as thousands of providers bumped from Medicaid
Ben Allen, General Assignment Reporter | 10.19.16
(Harrisburg) -- Thousands of health care providers in Pennsylvania have been bumped from Medicaid.
The Affordable Care Act required Medicaid providers to get re-approved for the program, but a combination of missed deadlines and paperwork overload pushed more than 28-thousand off the list.
That could leave as many as 136,000 patients scrambling for a doctor, mental health therapist, or dentist.
"So there's a lot of information we received that patients are very concerned about letters that they received from DHS that their doctors were decredentialed, and that leads to a lot of angst amongst patients," says Dr. Scott Shapiro, who leads the Pennsylvania Medical Society, which represents doctors.
Adds Shapiro: "If patient care gets interrupted then I think the Medical Society will take its responsibility to advocate for patients and advocate for our members as strongly as possible to make sure we get this process back on the right track."
Shapiro says some doctors might have waited until the last days to submit paperwork, but the state Department of Human Services should've been prepared.
State Department of Human Services Secretary Ted Dallas says there's no reason to panic now.
"I think that it's a situation we're monitoring closely. We have not heard a lot of folks who have had trouble getting access to services," says Dallas.
Dallas says they're working to get the applications approved, and any approvals will be retroactive to late September, to avoid any gap in reimbursements.
"So I'm not sure that anybody fell down on the job. I'm not sure that it was as realistic in terms of a deadline, as we would hoped for. We would've hoped for another extension," he adds.
Dallas says other states have had similar problems, which is why he wanted the federal government to extend the deadline.
Published in Medicaid