Business

Medicaid Patients and Doctors Are Seeking a Cure for Denver Health's Managed Care

Hollie Presley sits at the kitchen table in her tidy southwest Denver home, surrounded by paperwork. Her four-year-old, Isabella, watches a cartoon in the living room, while her infant son, Parker, reclines in a bouncy chair within arm's reach, his belly full from his last bottle. The paperwork chronicles Presley's ongoing struggles with Colorado's Medicaid system. Presley wants her children to be able to go to the same doctors at South Federal Family Practice who delivered them and who know them. But because the family lives in Denver, getting both of her kids on a Medicaid plan that allows for that has been tough.

That's because since 2006, any Medicaid recipient with a Denver address has been automatically enrolled in the Denver Health Medicaid Choice plan. This so-called passive enrollment happens even if the patient has been seeing another doctor for years and lives nowhere near a clinic operated by Denver Health. And it happens despite the fact that Denver Health has a waiting list that's thousands of patients long (though it's taken significant steps to reduce it over the past year).

See also: Alternative therapy could be the next step for those with spinal cord injuries

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Melanie Asmar is a staff writer for Westword. She joined the paper in 2009 and has won awards for her stories about education, immigration and epic legal battles. Got a tip? She'd love to hear it.
Contact: Melanie Asmar