Medicaid primary care bump restored

Published 11:00 pm Thursday, September 22, 2016

Gov. Robert Bentley announced on Thursday that Medicaid payments for primary care doctors would be restored back to the levels they were at before being cut in August.

The rates were cut as a result of a Medicaid funding deficiency in the budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

That was partially solved last month during a special session with the passing of a bill sending $70 million of BP oil spill settlement money to fund Medicaid this year.

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“With the legislature passing the BP bill, that freed up money and allowed the governor to restore that funding,” said Rep. Alan Boothe, R-Troy. “I’m pleased that we were able to come to some sort of resolution to that for the primary caregivers. It’s a good thing for the medical community.”

The “primary care bump” put some Medicaid primary care reimbursement rates on par with Medicare rates.

The Alabama Medicaid Agency this summer ended the payment bump and predicted other program reductions because of a lack of money.

Medicaid Commissioner Stephanie Azar says the one-time money will help Medicaid avoid cuts next fiscal year. However, she says the agency faces long-term funding difficulties.

According to reports, Azar said that the pay bump will be restored on October 1. She also said that she believes that the state will not lose over $700 million in federal funding based on conversations that she has had.

Bentley said that there has been a negotiation to delay the implementation of the regional care organization program to next July. The program was originally set to start on October 1.

Medicaid provides health care to one million low-income Alabamians.