Medicaid changes don't sit well with parents - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Medicaid changes don't sit well with parents

August 26, 2006

Albany - - Parents with children in need of continual medical care are fighting Georgia legislators over a recent change in Medicaid. Lt. Governor Mark Taylor visited Albany today to meet with some of those parents and hear their frustrations.

Little Isabella is five years old. By looking at her, you wouldn't know she suffers from a severe brain condition.

"It's taken 5 years of her life with her therapist to get to this point and if we take it away, what's going to happen?" says her mother Rosa Craft.

Craft is concerned over a new Medicaid Program that puts patients, including Peach Care for Kids recipients, into CMO's or care management organizations with three private insurance carriers.

"This was a proposal that was made by Gov. Perdue to save money in our health care system and it was offered to the General Assembly as simply a budget item, no details were provided to the legislature or to the Senate where I serve," says Lt. Governor Mark Taylor.

He says he had nothing to do with the decision and says its failing Georgia's kids who need to see therapists regularly.

Rhonda Palmer has been a children's therapist for 16 years. She says the changes are affecting her practice.

"About 2 years ago in the state of GA, medicaid was cut from providers being able to perform 10 hours of therapy a month to 5. As of Sept. 1, we've been cut from being able to do 5 hours a month to 2 hours," she says.

Palmer says 80 % of her clientele are Medicaid recipients. Some medical providers even say the CMO's aren't reimbursing them for care they've already provided.

"Because they have signed a contract with the people of Georgia, they need to be forced by the Perdue administration to do their job, if they can't do their job, they cant pay their bills. If they can't provide these services, then they need to be replaced," Taylor says.

Parents like Rosa Craft just can't grasp why changes were made without the input of those the changes will affect.

"It's not fair. Why are they doing this to our children?"

Georgia Representative Jay Shaw and Senator Tim Golden say some medical practices may be going bankrupt as a result of these changes. They say a group of Georgia physicians filed a suit against the care management organizations, claiming the companies owe millions of dollars in outstanding claims.

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