California Counties Await Ruling on Medicare Claim
Five California counties are awaiting a federal ruling on a claim against HHS that seeks to recover $280 million in underpaid Medicare reimbursements, KQED's "The California Report" radio program reports.
According to the claim, Medicare underpays health care providers in those counties because HHS classifies the regions as rural rather than urban areas, where payments are higher to account for higher cost-of-living estimates and other factors.
The counties maintain that current reimbursement rates make it difficult to recruit and retain physicians in the lower-paid areas (Vargas, "The California Report," KQED, 4/17).
The counties include:
- Santa Barbara;
- Santa Cruz;
- San Diego;
- Marin; and
They are pursuing the payments with other counties nationwide as part of a claim that seeks to recover $2.4 billion in Medicare underpayments for providers over the past six years (California Healthline, 4/4).
The counties are awaiting a ruling from Medicare officials. A Medicare spokesperson said HHS cannot comment on the pending claims.
The segment includes comments from:
- Michael Reedy, an attorney representing the counties; and
- A physician in Santa Cruz County ("The California Report," KQED, 4/17).
Audio of the segment is available online. 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.