Providers and Staff Respond to Medicaid Managed Care: The Unintended Consequences of Reform in New Mexico

Abstract

In 1997 a new Medicaid managed care (MMC) program called Salud! was implemented by the State of New Mexico. This article serves as an introduction to a special issue of Medical Anthropology Quarterly that assesses the unintended consequences of this reform and its impact on providers and staff who work in clinics, physician offices, and emergency rooms where Medicaid patients are served. MMC fused state and corporate bureaucracies, creating a complex system where enrollment and access was difficult. The special issue focuses on providers’ responses to these new structures, including ways in which staff buffer the impact of reform and the role of the discourses of medical necessity and accountability in shaping the way in which MMC functions.