KanCare response appreciated

Opinion

January 3, 2019 - 9:39 AM

KanCare officials showed a surprising but encouraging willingness to roll back unwelcome changes in mid-December in response to feedback. A new system of codes for formerly bundled services meant that Kansas pediatricians who see children on Medicaid saw a significant reduction in payments starting Nov. 1. Reimbursement for an office visit dropped, in some cases, from $70 to $26 for a 1-month-old child.

For pediatricians, changes to Medicaid reimbursements have real consequences. Nearly 40 percent of Kansas children are covered by Medicaid or CHIP, a supplemental program. For most pediatricians, Medicaid reimbursements make up a significant percentage of their income. Kansas already pays less for well-child checkups than surrounding states, making any reduction particularly burdensome.

At a KanCare Advisory Council meeting, lawmakers and public officials heard concerns from pediatricians about the new billing structure. Some physicians told the council that they would likely be forced to scale back the number of Medicaid patients they treat, a move that risks cutting off children from health care.

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