Doubling Fees Would Not Bring Doctors Into Medicaid, States Association of American Physicians and Surgeons

TUCSON, Ariz., April 27, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- In a survey of its members conducted by internet and mail, the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) found that a 100 percent increase in fees would cause only 15 percent of nonparticipating physicians to see Medicaid beneficiaries. Currently, only 43 percent of about 300 respondents accept Medicaid.

Low fees were the most important reason for only 20 percent of physician who do not participate. "Cost, hassles, and threats" were most important for 58 percent, and a "principled objection" for 30 percent.

Nearly 84 percent of respondents say they provide pro bono care for the needy. Only 15 percent said charity patients were the least desirable, compared with Medicaid, traditional Medicare, Medicare Advantage, self pay, and commercially insured. Medicaid was the least desirable for 42 percent. Self-paying patients were the first preference for 62 percent.

One respondent noted that the 40-page application to sign up for Medicaid was "just not worth it." Not only are there strings attached, wrote one physician, but "now they have steel cables with felony charges any time they want."

A number of physicians stated that Medicaid patients had "an entitlement mentality." The patients frequently failed to keep appointments without bothering to cancel, respondents reported, and they tended to be "ungrateful," "demanding," "irresponsible," and even "abusive."

The administrative demands of the program were described as "abusive" and "nonsensical." Some felt that the protocols doctors were expected to follow were actually harmful to patients.

"You become the face of government, and you lose your humanity when you 'take' Medicaid," one physician explained.

Survey results, including all comments, are available online.

"The Medicaid program creates serious problems in the patient-physician relationship," states AAPS executive director Jane Orient, M.D. "The program cannot be fixed by pouring in more money."

The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) is a national organization representing physicians in all specialties since 1943.

CONTACT: Jane M. Orient, M.D., (520) 323-3110, janeorientmd@gmail.comSource:Association of American Physicians and Surgeons