TMA to Urge Commissioner to Protect Patients, Stop Medicaid Cut

For Immediate Release
June 28, 2010


Contact: Pam Udall
phone: (512) 370-1382
cell: (512) 413-6807

Brent Annear
phone: (512) 370-1381
cell: (512) 656-7320


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WHAT: Health care leaders representing the Texas Medical Association (TMA) and other top Texas medical groups are urging the Texas Health and Human Service Commission not to cut Texas' Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) physician payments. The commission is considering a 1-percent, across-the-board cut in Medicaid and CHIP payments to answer the state's projected budget shortfall. Currently, only 42 percent of physicians accept Medicaid; another cut could backfire for Texas, reducing participation and making it even more difficult for Medicaid patients to find a physician. Such a cut could actually cost the beleaguered state budget more than it saves.

WHEN:  Tuesday, June 29, 8-10 am

WHERE:   Health and Human Service Commission building, 11209 Metric Blvd., Austin, Braker Center Building H, Lone Star Conference Room  

WHO: Testifying jointly for TMA, the Texas Pediatric Society, Texas Association of Family Physicians, and the Texas Medical Group Management Association will be: Regina Rogoff, CEO, People's Community Clinic, Austin; Michelle Williams, executive director, San Benito Medical Associates, Inc., San Benito/Harlingen; Tom Wolf, Texas Orthopaedic Clinic, Austin; and possibly Marcel Thompson, DO, an obstetrician/gynecologist from Round Rock.

WHY: Physicians and other health care experts know Texas must use a scalpel instead of a cleaver to close the state budget gap. A 1-percent cut may not seem like much, but already Medicaid and CHIP rates do not cover physicians' practice costs, and the proposed cut will reduce the gains Texas has made in the number of physicians who care for Medicaid patients. Investing in patients' primary and preventive health care will reap much-needed savings down the road. By ensuring that all Medicaid and CHIP patients have a physician to coordinate and manage their care, the state can reduce patients' reliance on more costly emergency rooms for routine care and reduce potentially preventable hospitalizations and readmissions.   

TMA is the largest state medical society in the nation, representing nearly 45,000 physician and medical student members. It is located in Austin and has 120 component county medical societies around the state. TMA's key objective since 1853 is to improve the health of all Texans.

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