Governor Bentley cut to Medicaid primary care bump to be restored

Gov. Robert Bentley

Gov. Robert Bentley

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) _ Alabama is restoring enhanced payments for primary care doctors who treat Medicaid patients.

Gov. Robert Bentley announced Thursday that the state will restore the enhanced payments that were cut because of budget troubles. The “primary care bump” put some Medicaid primary care reimbursement rates on par with Medicare rates.

The Alabama Medicaid Agency this summer ended the payment bump and predicted other program reductions because of a lack of money.

Alabama lawmakers this month approved an additional $120 million for Medicaid. The money comes from a bond issue supported by the state’s oil spill settlement funds.

Medicaid Commissioner Stephanie Azar says the one-time money will help Medicaid avoid cuts next fiscal year. However, she says the agency faces long-term funding difficulties.

Medicaid provides health care to one million low-income Alabamians.