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Home / Research » Medicaid Health Insurance Status Limits Patient Accessibility to Rehabilitation Services Following ACL Reconstruction Surgery

Medicaid Health Insurance Status Limits Patient Accessibility to Rehabilitation Services Following ACL Reconstruction Surgery

Miranda J. Rogers,MD, MS, Ian Penvose, BS, Emily J. Curry, BA, Anthony DeGiacomo,MD, and Xinning Li,MD. Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine.  2018 Apr 3;6(4):1-13.
Background In the senior author’s (X.L.) orthopaedic sports medicine clinic in the United States (US), patients appear to have difficulty finding physical therapy (PT) practices that accept Medicaid insurance for postoperative rehabilitation. Purpose To determine access to PT services for privately insured patients versus those with Medicaid who underwent anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction in the largest metropolitan area in the state of Massachusetts, which underwent Medicaid expansion as part of the Affordable Care Act. Study Design Cross-sectional study. Methods Locations offering PT services were identified through Google, Yelp, and Yellow Pages internet searches. Each practice was contacted and queried about health insurance type accepted (Medicaid [public] vs Blue Cross Blue Shield [private]) for postoperative ACL reconstruction rehabilitation. Additional data collection points included time to first appointment, reason for not accepting insurance, and ability to refer to a location accepting insurance type. Median income and percentage of households living in poverty were also noted through US Census data for the town in which the practice was located. Results Of the 157 PT locations identified, contact was made with 139 to achieve a response rate of 88.5%. Overall, 96.4% of practices took private insurance, while 51.8% accepted Medicaid. Among those locations that did not accept Medicaid, only 29% were able to refer to a clinic that would accept it. “No contract” was the most common reason why Medicaid was not accepted (39.4%). Average time to first appointment was 5.8 days for privately insured patients versus 8.4 days for Medicaid patients (P = .0001). There was no significant difference between clinic location (town median income or poverty level) and insurance type accepted. Conclusion The study results reveal that 43% fewer PT clinics accept Medicaid as compared with private insurance for postoperative ACL reconstruction rehabilitation in a large metropolitan area. Furthermore, Medicaid patients must wait significantly longer for an initial appointment. Access to PT care is still limited despite the expansion of Medicaid insurance coverage to all patients in the state.

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