Medicaid cuts affect GA doctors - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Medicaid cuts affect GA doctors

THOMASVILLE, GA (WALB) - These days it's no secret. State and local governments are making extreme budget cuts due to the poor economy.

One of the programs affected by these cuts is Medicaid. "We have a very high Medicaid volume in our practice and any cut at all is going to affect our ability to take care of patients," said Dr. Sandra Reed.

Dr. Reed is an OB/GYN at the Shaw Center in Thomasville. Last week a rule went into effect prompting a half a percent cut to health care providers. She says her practice has been forced to add programs just to pay the bills. "We're doing laser treatments, hair removal, and also 4-D ultrasounds now."

Reed says although most doctors can choose not to accept Medicaid patients, her practice can not. "We really can't turn them away because we are it."

Reed says she understands the economy is down and sacrifices need to be made. "I think everybody understands that, but when you're sitting in a situation where you haven't had an increase for 10 years and than they want to talk about cutting. We've already been cut just based on the cost of living increase."

The Shaw Center in Thomasville specializes in female care. Reed says taking money from her practice will cost the state more in the long run. "We need healthy mothers. Healthy mothers and healthy babies actually help benefit the system and not cost more money to take care of sick babies."

Reed says they've already streamlined their practice, laid off employees, and switched to an automated appointment system. She says the only cost saving technique left is losing doctors and no one can afford that.

Dr. Reed says Moultrie has lost three of it's four gynecologists. She says the remaining doctor is so overwhelmed that many patients are now traveling 30 miles to Thomasville to avoid waiting weeks for an appointment.

Copyright 2011 WALB. All rights reserved.

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