Noteworthy News

Do “Narrow Networks” Jeopardize Care?

They may if they serve Medicaid patients.

Or so suggests a new Health Affairs report.

As growing numbers of Medicaid managed care plans reduce their provider networks as a means of managing costs, provider turnover appears to be growing.  According to the report, narrow networks tracked during a five-year period experienced a 20 percentage point greater rate of physician turnover than non-narrow plans.

Such turnover is thought to be a potential problem for Medicaid patients who are socially or clinically vulnerable and present complex medical needs.  The loss of a physician can disrupt and complicate the care of such patients – and disrupt it in ways that may not necessarily be detected by current quality measures.

This could pose a problem for the communities served by urban safety-net hospitals, which generally have large numbers of Medicaid patients who are enrolled in managed care plans.

Learn more about the challenges poses by narrow networks operated by Medicaid managed care plans in the study “Network Optimization And The Continuity Of Physicians In Medicaid Managed Care,” found here, on the Health Affairs web site, or go here to see a Healthcare Dive summary of the study.

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