Thursday, January 10, 2013

Many primary health-care providers will lose millions in Medicaid in Feb. if they don't upgrade credentials

The federal government has started to require special certification before primary health-care providers can keep getting extra Medicaid payments. Primary-care clinics, which most often serve rural areas, could lose millions in funding if they aren't certified.

For example, more than 150 primary health providers in Kentucky will lose $60 million in supplemental Medicaid payments beginning Feb. 1, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services told the state Cabinet for Health and Family Services. The federal center said it could no longer support the payments to 155 primary-care providers because those facilities no longer have the correct federal designation, Beth Musgrave of the Lexington Herald-Leader reports.

Supplemental payments have been made for years to cover the full cost of operating licensed primary-care centers, Tom Loftus of The Courier-Journal in Louisville reports. The payments were used to attract primary-care doctors to underserved areas. Now the federal government now requires facilities be designated as "Federally Qualified Health Centers" or "Rural Health Centers" to be eligible for supplemental payments. Just 118 of Kentucky's 273 primary-care clinics have those certifications. Primary-care providers can apply for certification, a process that takes between 90 to 120 days. Clinics must prove they provide a wide range of services and meet other federal requirements. (Read more)

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