NM Docs More Open to Medicaid Than National Average
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Nearly a third of doctors nationwide refuse to accept new Medicaid patients. But New Mexico physicians are less likely to turn down a new patient because they rely on Medicaid to cover their bills.
According a survey of 4,326 office-based physicians conducted for the magazine Health Affairs, 13.7% of New Mexico doctors refuse to accept new Medicaid patients. New Mexico ranked number 10 in states where doctors were most receptive to new Medicaid patients. In Wyoming, 99.3% of office-based doctors were willing to accept new patients. New Jersey has the most Medicaid-resistant physicians. Only 40.4% of the Garden State’s doctors would accept new Medicaid patients.
The study found that higher Medicaid reimbursement rates would likely increase the acceptance rate for new Medicaid patients. But the study also cautioned that other factors not examined could have a substantial impact on physicians’ decision whether to accept new Medicaid patients. Factors such as the regulatory and paperwork burden could not be overlooked, the study said.
The study does not attempt to explain higher acceptance rates such as that exhibited by New Mexico physicians. It noted that the doctor per capita ratio and the percentage of the population dependent on Medicaid could be substantial factors. It did note that there appeared to be a higher Medicaid acceptance rate among doctors practicing in rural areas, perhaps for the reason that they were the only physicians available to the local populace.
The study is available only by subscription or purchase from Health Affairs magazine.