Argument made more doctor visits, drugs will save Medicaid money

Various groups, including a Medicaid Advisory Committee, are recommending that Mississippi Medicaid recipients be allowed more visits to the doctor and more access to prescription medication.

Steve Demetropoulos, a Gulf Coast emergency room physician and chairman of the legislatively created Advisory Committee, said that by spending a little more money “on the front end, we can save on the back end.”

He said, “If we can keep them (Medicaid recipients) out of the hospital or out of the emergency room, we can save more revenue.”

The current limits on prescription drugs and physician visits were put in place in the mid 2000s in an attempt to save money in the program.

The Legislature is expected to consider multiple changes to the federal-state health care program as it deals with the regular re-authorization of the agency during the 2018 session, which begins in January. The Legislature, as is always the case with the program that costs nearly $1 billion annually in state funds, is looking for ways to trim costs.

About 70 percent of the state’s Medicaid recipients are in managed care programs, which in some instances allow slightly more prescription medications and do not have a limit on physician visits.

Bobby Harrison
Daily Journal