Brandon Merritt, a health care analyst at the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy, said the increased reimbursements are meant to encourage doctors to treat Medicaid patients when West Virginia expands the program on Jan. 1, 2014.
About 91,500 additional state residents are expected to join Medicaid.
"The idea is to get more providers," Merritt said. "They're worried about the overloading of the system."
Unlike hospital emergency rooms, there is no law requiring private physicians to treat uninsured or government-insured patients. And there is currently little financial incentive for doctors to treat Medicaid patients.
Evan Jenkins, executive director of the West Virginia State Medical Association, told the Daily Mail earlier this year that most doctors have to limit the number of Medicaid patients in their practice.
"I'm not aware of any medical practice that could survive financially . . . solely on a Medicaid patient population," he said.
This increase in reimbursements would likely soothe that financial sting. It won't have much impact on state hospitals, however.
Joseph Letnaunchyn, president of the West Virginia Hospital Association, said the increased payments would benefit hospitals only if they own a primary care practice.
"But that will likely just cover the cost of running the practice," he said.
It's also unclear if the reimbursements will last past 2014. Hall said after next year, it will be up to states to decide whether or not the higher Medicaid payments will continue.
"We'll have to see where we are, budgetary-wise," she said.
Doctors could have received the higher reimbursements earlier this year, but Hall said the state had to have its plan for the payments approved by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
DHHR received federal approval only a few weeks ago. The agency also had to update its computer systems to allow doctors to receive the higher payments.