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M.D. affiliation and Medicaid access

Jun. 29, 2016, 8:00 AM

In the journal Medical Care, Michael Richards, M.D., Ph.D., MPH and colleagues report that more office-based physicians are affiliating with integrated health systems. Apparently through this affiliation, physicians become more likely to accept Medicaid patients.

From 2009 to 2015, independent practices decreased from 73 percent to 60 percent of all office-based physician practices, and group practices decreased from 20 percent to 15 percent. Meanwhile, practices affiliated with integrated health systems shot up from 7 percent to 25 percent of all office-based practices.

The researchers found that physician practices are 2.5 percentage points more likely to participate in Medicaid after joining an integrated health system.

(According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2013, approximately 69 percent of office-based physicians accepted new Medicaid patients.)

“This beneficial side effect has not been previously documented and should be kept in mind as policymakers weigh the pros and cons of a more integrated health care system,” the authors wrote.

Joining Richards in the study were Sayeh Nikpay, Ph.D., MPH, and John Graves, Ph.D.

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