Colorado delaying Medicaid pay

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted June 28, 2010

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Colorado is holding Medicaid claims submitted on or after June 12 due to a state-declared fiscal emergency.

These claims will begin to be paid on July 9, according to Joanne Lindsay, spokeswoman for the Colorado Dept. of Health Care and Financing. The move will save an estimated $38 million by pushing the payments into the 2011 fiscal year, which begins July 1.

"They're basically asking us to be their banker. And they're taking a loan without interest," said John Bender, MD, chair of the Colorado Academy of Family Physicians' board of directors. He's also medical director of Miramont Family Medicine in Fort Collins, Colo.

Dr. Bender said delaying Medicaid pay is not the way to attract young physicians to Larimer County, where he practices. The county is already short on primary care physicians, having lost 34 in the last eight years, including eight who filed for bankruptcy.

Still, only about 6% of Dr. Bender's patients are in Medicaid, he said. "Financially, it's kind of like having a bellyache. We're going to be able to weather it."

Note: This item originally appeared at

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