Doctors, Dentists React To Medicaid Ruling

Jan 5, 2015

Florida healthcare providers and advocates recently won a lengthy court battle against the state Medicaid’s program. 

Florida doctors and dentists argued Medicaid was shortchanging them on reimbursement rates. U.S. appellate Judge Adalberto Jordan agreed.

Florida Dental Association President Richard Stevenson says low reimbursement was a major factor for dentists in the state refusing to accept Medicaid patients.  Stevenson says he is looking forward to legislators providing enough funds to better care for the state’s underserved and vulnerable populations.

“We fully intend to try to get everyone who wants to get treatment, treated. We will work at all ends of it, of course, funding is the biggest drawback in any part of the equation.”

Children in the state were largely affected from a shortage of care providers and the controversial switching – where patients are not told about a change of physician.

The state argues it has fixed the issue under a newly implemented Medicaid managed care system.

Florida physicians think otherwise. Tallahassee physician Louis St. Petery  blames Medicaid managed care for what he sees as worsening the situation for low-income kids.

“Since the MMA rollout, which occurred this past summer, we’ve found that kids actually have less access than they had before," St. Petery said. "I think the MMA program sounds good on paper but there’s just as much switching, just as much lack of care.”

St. Petery is the executive vice president of the Florida chapter of the American Academy of Pediatricians, which is among the groups that filed the lawsuit.

Doctors and dentists continue pushing Governor Rick Scott and the legislature to grant more funds and improve the administration of the Medicaid managed care.