Pharmacists are in a great position to close gaps in quality care for Medicaid patients

New evidence that Medicaid patients wait longer than privately insured patients to see their physician was published in the May 2017 Health Affairs.

Patients covered by Medicaid were 20% more likely than privately insured patients to wait 20 minutes or longer to see their physician, according to the study from MIT and Stanford researchers. Even when Medicaid patients and privately insured patients saw the same physician in the same practice, the Medicaid patients waited 5% longer than the privately insured patients. And in states with lower Medicaid reimbursement rates, Medicaid patients were especially likely to wait longer.

As one of the largest payers for health care in the United States, Medicaid is providing health coverage to 69 million people, including eligible low-income adults, children, pregnant women, older adults, and people with disabilities.

This is another example of the barriers to quality care faced by some of our most vulnerable patients. As one of the most accessible health care providers, we have a great opportunity to help close these gaps in our health care system through collaboration with our colleagues in medicine and state legislators and regulators. I want to hear your story of providing a pharmacist’s care to Medicaid patients and improving access, making someone’s day—or saving a life.