CMA Calls for State To Completely Eliminate 10% Medi-Cal Rate Cut
The California Medical Association has praised Gov. Jerry Brown's (D) fiscal year 2014-2015 budget proposal for eliminating a 10% retroactive cut in Medi-Cal reimbursements, but the group wants the state to completely eliminate the cut in future payments, Modern Healthcare reports (Robeznieks, Modern Healthcare, 1/10).
Medi-Cal is California's Medicaid program.
Background on Medi-Cal Reimbursement Cut
In October 2011, CMS approved the state's plan to reduce certain Medi-Cal payments by 10%.
The following year, a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a district court ruling to stop the retroactive 10% cut. Health care providers then asked the full 9th Circuit court to review the case. In May 2013, the full circuit court upheld the cut.
In September 2013, the CMA petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to review the federal court ruling.
Last week, Brown released his fiscal year 2014-2015 budget proposal, which would prevent health care providers in the state from having to repay a 10% reimbursement rate cut retroactive to 2011. However, the plan does not exempt physicians and other health care providers from future Medi-Cal reimbursement rate cuts (California Healthline, 1/9).
In a release, CMA President Richard Thorp called the elimination of the retroactive cut "a huge win for physicians and patients."
However, he added that "even with the retroactive cut eliminated, California is still last on the nation's Medicaid reimbursement rate list and has what are arguably the highest practice costs across the country."
Thorp said that the state was in "dire financial times" when the cut was approved and that the economy has improved since then.
Thorp said that "the state should not continue to balance the budget on the backs of California's neediest patients and their doctors," adding, "While this budget will provide some relief to physicians who may have otherwise been forced to stop taking new Medi-Cal patients altogether, it does not go far enough" (Modern Healthcare, 1/10).
Meanwhile, KQED's "The California Report" reported on how the scheduled 10% cut to Medi-Cal reimbursement rates could affect low-income patients in the state (Dembosky, "The California Report," KQED, 1/10).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.