Comment: The Progressives penchant for shutting down private activity and running everything through government is just insane. Now doctors are being told in effect they can’t provide free charity care without registering with Medicaid. The doctor asks in her story below: “What is the problem that this new regulation is trying to solve?” Exactly. Obamacare administrators, you owe the people an explanation. Here’s ours: Obamacare – the insanity continues.
I have a medical license in the state of New Jersey which allows me to care for patients, diagnosing and treating their illnesses.
I have chosen NOT to enroll in Medicaid, as this program, while costing the taxpayers $12 billion per year in New Jersey, pays so poorly that it costs primary care physicians more to create and process a claim than they receive in payment for services rendered.
I have chosen to treat the poor for free– at no cost to the recipient or the government, and have co-founded the Zarephath Health Center where we utilize the volunteer services of physicians, nurses and support staff. We give the patients good medical care, and they can leave a donation if they wish. There is no obligation to anyone and no bills are sent to the state. We give, the patient receives, and the transaction is complete. Goodwill abounds and I love what I do there. To be clear, I donate 6-8 hours per week at the Zarephath Health Center, and earn my living in my private practice. We at the ZHC see 300-400 patients per month while we are only open 12 hours per week. We are extremely efficient and the cost incurred per patient visit comes to $13, all from voluntary donations. We hand out many donated medications, but not every medication is available to us.
For almost ten years we have cared for Medicaid recipients, as they have been unable to find a physician who can care for them. From time to time, patients have told us that the Medicaid office has suggested that they come to our non-government free clinic, for they know these patients will not be turned down. We have written prescriptions, ordered lab and radiology tests, and these ancillary services have been honored at any pharmacy or facility that accepts Medicaid.
As of January 1, 2013, I have been notified that I must enroll as a “non-billing provider”, or none of these ancillary services will be paid. My question is “Why?”
How many “non-billing providers” are there caring for Medicaid patients?
Why does the Medicaid program care if it does not have to pay the physicians?
Are they concerned that there is fraud? Can’t they simply verify our credentials? Anyone can go to the state website to see that we physicians have valid licenses, DEA and CDS numbers.
Medicaid does not cover every medication we might want to prescribe and we are willing to work with them for the benefit of the patient.
What is the problem that this new regulation is trying to solve?
I would prefer to simply care for the patients for free as we have been doing for the past 10 years. As a matter of principle, I do not want to enroll in the Medicaid program as a billing- or non-billing provider.
We were told that the PPACA would have to be passed so that we could see what was in it. On what page is this regulation to be found? How many staff members have been added to the Medicaid program to enforce this new rule? And why?
Alieta Eck, MD
Past President Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (www.aapsonline.org)
Co-founder, Zarephath Health Center, (www.zhcenter.org)
Physician in private practice in Piscataway, NJ