California Budget Stalemate Hits Pay for Health Care Providers
A budget stalemate in California is threatening services at health care providers that rely on Medi-Cal payments to meet financial obligations, the Sacramento Bee reports (Rojas/Lin, Sacramento Bee, 7/31).
California since July 1 has been without a budget for the current fiscal year. The Assembly approved a $145 billion spending plan, backed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R), but Senate Republicans are holding out for deeper spending cuts (Chorneau, San Francisco Chronicle, 7/31).
The Department of Health Care Services last week informed operators of the state's nearly 340 adult day health care centers that the state has no legal authority to make Medi-Cal payments if there is no budget (Sacramento Bee, 7/31).
If a budget is not passed by Thursday, Medi-Cal will not be able to make an estimated $227 million payment to hospitals, clinics, nursing homes and other health care providers (San Francisco Chronicle, 7/31).
Lydia Missaelides, executive director of the California Association for Adult Day Services, said the most immediate financial strain has been placed on the 260 adult day facilities that are not affiliated with parent organizations such as hospitals or not-for-profits.
Missaelides said that these providers will have to rely on existing reserves and lines of credit during the budget impasse. Some facilities are considering closing down until a budget is signed (Sacramento Bee, 7/31).
Senate Republican Leader Dick Ackerman (R-Tustin) said holding out for more spending cuts means the Legislature is "going to get a better budget; that's the bottom line" (San Francisco Chronicle, 7/31).
Ackerman said the Senate Republican caucus is prepared to propose an emergency spending measure to maintain health care services (Sacramento Bee, 7/31).