California Hospitals Disappointed that May Revise Doesn't Reverse Retroactive Medi-Cal Payment Cuts

As Medi-Cal Enrollment Surges to 11.5 Million Californians, Access to Providers is at Risk

May 13, 2014, 15:37 ET from California Hospital Association

SACRAMENTO, Calif., May 13, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following statement is being issued by C. Duane Dauner, President/CEO, California Hospital Association:

The California Hospital Association (CHA) is disappointed that the May revision to the state's proposed 2014-15 budget, released today, does not reverse looming retroactive Medi-Cal payment cuts to hospital-based skilled-nursing facilities. This omission comes at a critical time in the evolution of the Medi-Cal program. 

Administration officials announced this morning that an estimated 11.5 million Californians – nearly 1 out of every 3 people – are expected to be enrolled in Medi-Cal during the coming year.  Yet, the payment cuts to hospitals, along with those affecting physicians, dentists, pharmacists and other providers, may threaten access to care for millions of low-income and elderly patients.

The May budget revision includes a net increase of $2.4 billion in revenues due to higher than expected personal income tax withholding, partnership income, and dividend income.  Administration officials, however, said that the increased costs in Medi-Cal resulting from the surge in enrollment, along with expenses related to the drought, and a plan to fund teacher pensions will consume all of the expected revenue growth.  Additionally, the state's new "Rainy Day Fund" and a plan to make payments on the state's outstanding debt will consume 3 percent of the state's 2014-15 revenues.

California voters will have the chance this fall to secure billions in federal dollars for Medi-Cal patients.  But as California's budget picture continues to improve, lawmakers should do their part by restoring specific cuts that protect the most vulnerable among us, and preserve a basic quality-of-life issue: access to quality health care for all.  

SOURCE California Hospital Association