Alabama pediatrician reacts to first round of Medicaid cuts

Alabama pediatrician reacts to first round of Medicaid cuts

Opp, AL (WSFA) - A day after the state's Medicaid program announced its first round of major cuts, healthcare providers have a grim outlook about the effects on your family's care.

Lawmakers were warned if they didn't find $85 million for Medicaid, the cuts would come. Now, a pediatrician in Opp says his patients will suffer.

Enhanced reimbursement payments for primary care doctors are set to end August 1, and Dr. Bhagwan Bang is still trying to come to terms with how to proceed.

"I may have to see more patients to keep up with the overhead," said Dr. Bang.

Nearly 70 to 80 percent of Dr. Bang's patients are Medicaid, low income families, and in order to make ends meet he'll have to spend less time educating his patients.

"As the number of staff decreases, the care decreases," said Dr. Bang. "There is a chance that the other practices, other doctors, may not be able to keep up the number of staff they have and that will directly impact even the insured patients."

Alabama's Medicaid Commissioner called the $14.7 million cuts difficult but necessary. The Medial Association of the State of Alabama fired back calling the move devastating and dangerous; the Group's Executive Director even called the governor's logic backwards.

"It is primarily going to impact the pediatrician because 50 percent, 60 percent of the population of children in this state are on Medicaid," said Bang.

As Dr. Bang projects his revenue loss, he says the community will suffer.

"Directly 30 percent, indirectly by not being able to provide the optimum care it could be more than that," Bang said.

The Executive Director of the Medical Association of the State of Alabama fears that Alabama's Medicaid program could easily collapse, leaving those patients without coverage.

Agency officials have said additional cuts are expected.

Many officials warn that Medicaid cuts on the state level mean healthcare providers will receive less federal money as well.

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