‘Capital Public Radio’ Reports on Effect of Reduced Medi-Cal Provider Reimbursement Rates
Capital Public Radio on Tuesday reported on how reduced Medi-Cal provider reimbursement rates could affect patients and physicians. According to CPR, providers -- especially specialists -- may decide not to treat Medi-Cal beneficiaries in favor of patients with private health insurance (O'Mara, Capital Public Radio, 9/16). Gov. Gray Davis (D) last month signed a $99.1 billion state budget for the 2003-2004 fiscal year that includes a 5% reduction in Medi-Cal reimbursements for providers to help cover a $38 billion deficit. Medi-Cal physician reimbursement reductions will save the state $115 million. In addition, the budget will require Medi-Cal beneficiaries to reapply for the program two times per year, rather than one, to help reduce costs. Under the budget, the state will reduce expenditures for health care for low-income residents by a total of $1.57 billion, about $930 million of which will result from a revision in Medi-Cal accounting practices (California Healthline, 8/4). CPR reports that the California Medical Association has been "sharply critical" of the reductions in Medi-Cal provider reimbursements, noting that the state ranks 42nd in the nation in state Medicaid payments to physicians and that more than 70% of respondents to a survey of CMA members said they likely would stop accepting new Medi-Cal beneficiaries if reimbursement rates were reduced to pre-2000 levels. Stan Rosenstein of the Department of Health Services said that he hopes Medi-Cal providers will remember the 17% raise in reimbursement rates some received in 2000 and continue to participate in the program (Capital Public Radio, 9/16). The full segment is available online in RealPlayer.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.