Health & Science

New Mexico prepares for Medicaid payment increases

New Mexico published a detailed plan Wednesday to increase rates for Medicaid payments to physicians and other health care providers, particularly those who provide fact-to-face evaluations and consultations with patients.

Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said the increases in Medicaid reimbursement rates are aimed at helping the state better recruit and retain essential medical professionals, especially in rural areas.

The proposed rate changes would increase annual state and federal spending by $60 million, starting on July 1. The state's $13 million share would come from the general fund and already has been endorsed by the Legislature.

Public comments on the rates are being gathered through June 17.

The bulk of the new spending is directed at reimbursements for medical services that don't involve physical procedures.

"For primary care doctors and behavior health specialists, that's 90% to 100% of what they do," said David Scrase, who oversees the state's Medicaid managed care program.

He said reimbursements in those situations would rise by about 30%.

The proposed rate changes also affect mental health services, consultations on substance-abuse, home-based care for the elderly, dental services and more.

More than 800,000 residents are enrolled in the state's federally subsidized Medicaid program. Scrase said reimbursement rate increases should reduce the tendency for costs to be thrust onto the private insurance market.

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