Are clinics that advertise they accept new Medicare/Medicaid patients allowed to review charts of patients and then choose which patients to accept or not?
I work in a small rural clinic that sees nothing but patients on my state's Medicaid program. Once they turn 65 and are eligible for Medicare, they "age out" of our clinic and have to be seen somewhere else.
The problem is that there are only 2 other clinics in town (both significantly larger than mine with many mid-levels, one of which is the FM clinic in the local hospital) that take Medicare patients. Both of these clinics are requesting records so that they may review them first, and if there is any sign of difficulty or complexity, are refusing to see them.
In the past, it was usually stuff like people on chronic pain meds. These days it is anything that looks complicated.
I have a patient who is about to age out of my clinic with a history of stroke and mental illness that may be secondary to the stroke. She is not on pain meds, she has never missed an appointment, but she is a little cooky and minimally abrasive. I literally cannot get anybody in town to see her because she has all sorts of issues. She is a demanding patient that takes up lots of time.
I have been told that the clinics only want quick and easy patients who will nicely fit into infrequent 15-20 minutes scheduled appointments.
So my question is, is this legal? Can clinics that advertise that they are accepting new Medicare/Medicaid pick and choose patients and refuse ones based on difficulty disability?
And if not, what are the steps I can use to help these patients out?
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