Physicians And Patients Frustrated Over Medicaid Stalemate - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

03/11/05

Physicians And Patients Frustrated Over Medicaid Stalemate

Many Medicaid patients and their doctors are frustrated over the ongoing political posturing.

While the governor and legislative leaders wrestle over finances, the real faces of Medicaid can be found in doctor's offices across the state.

We visited "Children's Medical Center", where some 90 percent of the patients are on Medicaid. It was easy to sense that growing frustration among patients and physicians. But we also found a certain optimism.

"The number of people who are dependent upon this for their health care is enormous," said Dr. Fauzia Quddus, as she prepared for another patient.

Dr. Quddus sees hundreds of Medicaid patients each week. They are the faces she'd like legislative leaders to keep in mind as they search for a funding solution. Like 11 month old Bradley.

"And these people are those who really aren't getting care anywhere else. They either go to the emergency room or keep hunting for a physician who will take Medicaid," the doctor explained.

Shasta Vough worries about critical decisions made in Jackson. The health of her family is in the balance.

"I have two children on Medicaid. His asthma medicine is 78 dollars every two weeks. I'm a single mom. Two kids. I can't afford it. There's no way," the mother explained.

"Hi sweetie, good to see you," said Dr. William Carr, as he examined a sick baby.

Dr. Carr has been providing pediatric care in Gulfport for nearly 40 years. He's seen more than his share of legislative posturing over health care funding.

"Well, it's a little frustrating. But I'm an optimistic person," Dr. Carr admits.

He says funding questions and budget tightening are already impacting patient care.

"Getting the patients their medications right now is tough. The pharmacists are not filling all the prescriptions. And the Medicaid is refusing to pay for certain prescriptions," said Dr. Carr.

Despite the uncertain funding future, both doctors are trying to stay positive.

"Actually, I kind of feel things are going to be fine. It's something so humanistic and so basic. It cannot be ignored," said Dr. Quddus.

Dr. Carr says the clinic will remain open as long as possible, treating Medicaid patients on "credit" if you will. By the way, the doctors will be seeing patients Saturday, as lawmakers return to Jackson to try and reach some compromise.

By Steve Phillips

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