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News Bits from MichUHCAN April 1999 Newsletter
The Academy of Pediatricians, a Michigan organization, is planning to sue the state for failing to meet federal standards on Medicaid. The doctors say poor children in Michigan are being deprived of preventive health screenings under the state's privatized Medicaid system. Federal guidelines require that 80 percent of Medicaid-eligible children receive the screening tests, but in Michigan, fewer than 34 percent are being tested.
A hospital administrator says that before privatization, about three percent of Medicaid costs were administrative overhead, compared to 10 - 12 percent now. That's $150 million to $200 million that used to be spent on health care, now spent on administration, according to Donald Potter, president of the Southeast Michigan Health and Hospital Council.
A Republican bill for patients' rights has been approved by committee and sent to the U.S. Senate floor. The bill provides for appeals to an independent review body if care is denied, but not the right to sue HMOs.
In the decade from 1985 - 1995, Michigan ranked second (behind Georgia) among states in the number of public hospitals (22) converted to private status or closed. At 46 percent, Michigan ranked third (behind Maryland and Montana) in the percentage of public hospitals closed or converted.