Calif. Safety-Net Providers Face Heavier Workload, Funding Cuts
California safety-net facilities -- such as community clinics and public hospitals -- are facing new challenges under the Affordable Care Act, KQED's "State of Health" reports.
As some consumers gain coverage for the first time in years or the first time ever, safety-net clinics are seeing an uptick in the number of patients using their services each day. In addition, the clinics still are serving individuals who did not qualify for coverage, including undocumented immigrants or individuals who chose to forgo coverage and will instead pay a tax penalty next year.
As a result, the clinics' physicians and staff are facing a heavier workload.
Meanwhile, state and federal funding for many safety-net clinics is being cut as more residents gain health coverage (Aliferis/Morehouse, "State of Health," KQED, 4/16).
For example, the state is redirecting $1.3 billion in funding from county health departments to Medi-Cal since the program was expanded under the ACA. Medi-Cal is California's Medicaid program (California Healthline, 9/20/13). Some Disproportionate Share Hospital payments -- enhanced federal reimbursements, which in the past have cushioned the impact of providing care for those who cannot afford it -- also will be reduced (Hart, California Healthline, 9/18/13).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.