Enrollment in Medicaid, the state's health program for low-income Texans, continues to grow, but fewer physicians are agreeing to treat Medicaid patients. It's a problem worth fixing: Health experts agree that restricted access to primary care increases health care costs down the line, as patients end up in hospitals seeking treatment for preventable illnesses.
Only 31 percent of physicians in Texas accepted Medicaid patients in 2011, according to the results of a biennial survey published by the Texas Medical Association on Monday. That’s an all-time low, and down from 42 percent in 2010, according to the medical association. The report said state cuts to provider reimbursement rates, bureaucratic red tape and regulatory burdens have cut the number of physicians willing to accept Medicaid patients.
From fiscal year 2008 to fiscal year 2011, the number of low-income Texans enrolled in Medicaid increased by 26 percent, or 754,500 people. At the same time, the number of physicians or physician groups providing services to those enrollees decreased by 5 percent, or 792 providers. Although there were fewer physicians accepting Medicaid, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission received 2.8 million more claims and paid $139 more in reimbursements to physicians in fiscal year 2011 compared with fiscal year 2008.
This map compares Medicaid enrollment by county to the number of physicians or physician groups that provided services in fiscal year 2011. The clustered points show the total number of providers in that area. Click on a cluster to get a closer look at where physicians who provided Medicaid services are in each area of the state, or enter a city or ZIP code into the search bar to zoom in to an area of the map. Warning: There are more than 14,000 providers on the map, and it may take longer than expected to load. Geocoding that many addresses can sometimes result in errors, so click on any provider marked on the map to see the accuracy level of the point mapped.