Court Denies Request To Allow Medi-Cal Pay Cuts While Lawsuit Continues
Last week, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied California's request to allow proposed Medi-Cal cuts to take effect while a lawsuit involving the cuts is litigated, the Sacramento Business Journal reports.
Medi-Cal is California's Medicaid program (Robertson, Sacramento Business Journal, 3/23).
In October 2011, CMS approved the state's plan to reduce certain Medi-Cal payments by 10%. State officials have projected that the cuts will save $623 million.
According to the Department of Health Care Services, CMS allowed the state to makeÂ the 10% reimbursementÂ cut to:
- A number of providers and outpatient services, including clinics, dentists, laboratories, optometrists and pharmacists; and
- Freestanding nursing and adult subacute care facilities, as well asÂ other nursing facilities.
In February, U.S. District Court Judge Christina Snyder granted a preliminary injunction to block a 10% cut to Medi-Cal reimbursement rates.
Snyder said the payment cuts could cause irreparable harm (California Healthline, 2/2).
DHCSÂ -- the state agency named in the lawsuit challenging the cuts -- immediately filed a request to halt the injunction until a formal ruling is made on the case.
Response to the Ruling
James Hay -- president of the California Medical Association -- said, "We are pleased with the court's decision, once again." He said, "It is time for the state to stop looking to the Medi-Cal program for their budget problems."However, Norman Williams -- a DHCS spokesperson -- said the courts' decision was "disappointing but not unexpected." Â He added, "California looks forward to the court's consideration of the full merits of the case when it is heard on the appeal" (Sacramento Business Journal, 3/23). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.