A Humboldt Medical Crisis?
For some folks living in the Eureka area, I think this just might be one.
I received a letter in the mail yesterday from the Downtown Medical Clinic. That's actually Dr. Lawrence Badgely's outfit and he was one of the dwindling number of physicians across the state that seemed to pretty much accept all patients, including those on MediCal and County Medical Services Program (CMSP).
Many, if not most, doctors won't accept patients on MediCal or CMSP anymore. If they do, they normally only accept a certain percentage of them because of the low reimbursement rates from those programs. They can't stay in business if they take too many low reimbursement cases.
The letter I received advised me that, as of August 1, their office will no longer accept MediCal or CMSP insurance and payment is due at time of service. In other words, pay cash unless you have private insurance.
Wow! What are so many of his patients going to do? Where are they going to go? A visit to the waiting room at his place is akin to going to the welfare office or the Eureka Community Clinic (which last I heard is no longer accepting new patients).
It probably won't change much for me. While I'm on MediCal (or is it CMSP?), I have to pay the first four to five hundred dollars of any medical expenses first, so I pretty much pay out of pocket for what few medical services and prescriptions I can afford. But what about the people who are on full coverage with MediCal and CMSP and can't afford to pay $65.00 for an office visit?
But, since I pay out of pocket, anyway, I think I'll have to start looking for somewhere else to go. It was often less expensive to pay cash with the old North Coast Family Practice than it was after Badgely bought them out and turned it into the Downtown Medical Group.
I'll bet most of the unfortunate ones on MediCal and CMSP are freaking right now. I know I would be.