New law for doctor/patient/Medicare

Aug 21st, 2013 | By | Category: Health & Fitness

State legislation to cement the relationship between medical professionals and patients took effect July 28, allowing professionals to not have to participate in a public or private third-party reimbursement program, such as Medicaid, to obtain or keep their licenses to practice.

 “When the federal healthcare reform bill was being debated, one of the selling points we heard repeatedly was that people would be able to keep their existing doctor,” said state Sen. Randi Becker (R-Second District). Senate Bill 5215, which she sponsored, “is a positive step towards ensuring doctors have the ability to manage their patient list and can continue to see the patients they’ve developed relationships with.”

SB 5215 also requires that medical professionals be made aware of, and agree to, any changes made by insurers to their reimbursement rates.

In 2014, individuals under age 65 (including parents and adults without dependent children) with incomes below 133 percent of the federal poverty level ($14,500 for an individual in 2011) will become eligible for Medicaid in every state. This change ends the longstanding coverage gap for low-income adults, Becker said. States can choose to expand eligibility for adults prior to 2014, and several states have already done so.

Noting that the state already has a shortage of medical professionals, Becker said providing assurance that they’ll be able to manage their patient load will encourage those here to stay in practice, and may help bring in professionals from other states.

 “In many areas of our state it’s already difficult to find a doctor willing to accept new patients. As up to one million newly-insured folks join the system, that shortage will be exacerbated. With this bill, we’re encouraging professionals to come to Washington to serve the medical needs of the people of our state.”

SB 5215 also requires that medical professionals be made aware of, and agree to, any changes made by insurers to their reimbursement rates. The bill now moves to the House of Representatives for further consideration.

In 2014, individuals under age 65 (including parents and adults without dependent children) with incomes below 133% of the FPL ($14,500 for an individual in 2011) will become eligible for Medicaid in every state. This change ends the longstanding coverage gap for low-income adults. States can choose to expand eligibility for adults prior to 2014, and several states have already done so.

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