Revamping the System

Nurses at the Shaw Center for Women say generations of families have been treated here for years no matter what their financial situation.

Rita Ray says, "If patients didn't have the chance to go to the provider they feel most comfortable with, a lot of times you wouldn't know what's happening in their lives and maybe be able to improve things."

But Gov. Sonny Perdue says changing indigent care could save the state and federal governments more than $2 billion a year.

The governor's proposed program would be a managed care system, similar to HMOs. Doctors and nurses say patients do have a right to choose who they go to for treatments, but it's getting difficult and expensive to handle indigent patient load.

Jeff Myers says, "Decreasing the access to Medicaid patients is the last thing any of us would like to do, but to keep our business viable, that may be something we need to do."

If implemented, Perdue's plan would affect about one million children, pregnant women and adults in the Medicaid system, but the billions saved could patch up the holes in a deep budget deficit.