All-Kids Problems

By: Tina Stein
By: Tina Stein

The All-Kids program can be great for those routine check-ups. But if you need a specialist like an ear nose and throat doctor, chances are you'll have to leave town. I went through the phone book and called several pediatricians and other specialists and most practices I spoke with do not accept All-Kids insurance.

Maltreese Smith is not even two-years-old and already he's experienced the struggles that come with having state-funded health insurance.

"Nobody will accept him because he receives the all kids medical card," says Lamona Smith, mother of Maltreese.

His tonsils are infected and the closest doctor he can get care from is in Chicago.

"It really hurts me because my son is really hurt and they're not helping me," she says.

Pediatrician Errol Baptist used to accept All-Kids patients when it was known as Medicaid. He says the state often didn't pay him if they thought his care wasn't necessary. For example, caring for a child with pneumonia.

"They questioned my admission here's a child having difficulty breathing they told me the patient should have been treated as an outpatient," he says.

Dr. Baptist is still waiting for the state to pay him on that treatment. And like many doctors he's waiting for dozens of other state health insurance checks. Another Rockford doctor says the state hasn't paid him since 1986.

"My prior experience with public aid medicaid was so horrible and if you want to break even in a practice if you have a hundred percent practice depending on the state you'd be out of business very quickly," Dr. Baptist says.

All-Kids spokespeople say the Governor is trying to improve the program and say doctors should now be paid within 30-days. There's also plan to expand insurance coverage to adults, which is known as Illinois Health Connect.

By expanding the All-Kids program, many doctors are worried this is like a National Health Service. Dr. Baptist lived in Canada for years, which has government-controlled insurance. He says health care was rationed. Meaning patients would wait months for radiation and bypass surgery. And often times they'd die before even making it to the operating table.

All-kids spoke people say 475 doctors in northwest Illinois accept All-Kids insurance. However there are thousands of doctors in our region. So it's tough to tell how effective it is. The Illinois State Medical Society is proposing legislation that would require the Department of Health and Human Services to publish all information regarding All-Kids, so others know if it's a reputable program.


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