Court Settlement Increases Medicaid Reimbursements For Treatment Of Children

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U.S. District Court Judge Robert Cleland last week approved asettlement in a federal lawsuit between child advocacy groups and theMichigan Department of Community Healththat will increase Medicaid reimbursement rates for physicians anddentists who treat children and expand access to the program, the Detroit Free Press reports (Kresnak, Detroit Free Press, 8/23).

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Thesuit, filed in 1999, claimed that low Medicaid reimbursement rates forbeneficiaries younger than age 21 had resulted in many physiciansrefusing to accept beneficiaries. When the suit was filed, 88% ofphysicians in the Michigan State Medical Society accepted Medicaid, but by 2005, the number had dropped to 65%.

Thesettlement locks in for three years and increases by 47% the Medicaidreimbursement rate for physicians who treat child beneficiaries. Thesettlement also locks in higher reimbursement rates for the Healthy Kids Dentalprogram, which provides dental care for children in families withincomes at or below 150% of the federal poverty level. The dentalprogram is available in 59 mostly rural counties throughout the state.In addition, the settlement requires the state to provide more outreachand detailed reporting on Medicaid services for children (Kozlowski, Detroit News, 8/23).

Accordingto Jennifer Clarke -- executive director of the Public Interest LawCenter of Philadelphia, which filed the lawsuit along with parents andmedical groups -- the settlement will guarantee that Healthy KidsDental continues (Detroit Free Press, 8/23).
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