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Holifield Accuses Tallahassee Memorial Of Medicaid Discrimination

Protestors accuse Tallahassee Memorial Hospital of limiting access for Medicaid patients. The hospital says more than half its clients are Medicaid or charity care.

Tallahassee cardiologist Ed Holifield is accusing Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare of artificially limiting the number Medicaid patients it serves. A small protest took place outside the hospital Tuesday.

Holified says Tallahassee Memorial Hospital physicians should be seeing more Medicaid patients, since the hospital gets financial support from the city. And he’s taking issue with TMH’s Family Practice program which he says unfairly shuts out Medicaid clients.

“TMH can see anybody they want to," says Holifield. "TMH can see people with no insurance who are broke like they have to do in the emergency room. But what they’re saying is, you have to get sick enough to end up in the emergency room before we’ll see you.”

Access to providers has long been a problem in Florida’s now-privatized Medicaid program.

Holifield also says the hospital has singled out only one of its physicians to serve the majority of Medicaid patients. TMH says it doesn’t comment on individual physicians, but notes half the clients in family care are Medicaid and charity care patients.

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Lynn Hatter is a Florida A&M University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Lynn has served as reporter/producer for WFSU since 2007 with education and health care issues as her key coverage areas.  She is an award-winning member of the Capital Press Corps and has participated in the NPR Kaiser Health News Reporting Partnership and NPR Education Initiative. 

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