Most Illinois Specialists Turn Down Medicaid Patients, Study Shows

A new study has shown that most specialists in Illinois refuse to accept Medicaid patients, according to a report by The Atlantic.

The study used a "secret shopper" technique in which researchers acted as the parent of a sick or injured child. The "parents" called 273 specialty practices in Cook County to schedule appointments, describing problems such as diabetes, seizures, uncontrolled asthma, broken bones or severe depression. If the scheduler asked, they said they had been referred by primary care physicians or emergency departments.

Sixty-nine percent of secret shoppers who mentioned Medicaid-CHIP were denied appointments, compared with 11 percent who mentioned having private health insurance. The waiting time for callers who said they had Medicaid was approximately 22 days longer in clinics that accepted both types of patients.

Read the Atlantic report on Medicaid in Illinois.

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