August 19, 2015
The California Medical Association (CMA) sent letters to Congress in support of a bill (H.R. 1761) that would ensure that podiatric services are covered under Medicaid (Medi-Cal in California).
"CMA is proud to work with our colleagues in podiatric medicine to improve access to essential medical foot and ankle care, particularly for those patients at risk for diabetes and related lower limb complications," wrote CMA President Luther F. Cobb, M.D., in the letter.
For years, foot and ankle services provided by podiatrists were optional Medicaid benefits in California. However, because of recent state budget cutbacks, all optional benefits have been eliminated. This bill would, for purposes of the Medicaid program, define podiatrists as "physicians" to ensure that these important services are covered benefits. The bill would not, however, expand podiatrists' scope of practice.
The bill would also clarify and improve coordination of care in Medicare's Therapeutic Shoe Program for Patients with Diabetes.
The bill would close a loophole that allows tax-delinquent Medicaid providers to still receive full Medicaid reimbursements. This provision will save the Medicaid system money and more than offset any additional federal budget costs associated with the inclusion of podiatrists.