Court Drops Order, Lets Medi-Cal Pay Cut to Pharmacists Take Effect
Late Wednesday, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco revoked a temporary injunction to Medi-Cal pay cuts to pharmacists, permitting the state to reduce payments while a suit challenging the cuts continues, the Los Angeles Daily Journal reports (George, Los Angeles Daily Journal, 7/18).
The Legislature and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) approved a 10% cut in Medi-Cal provider payments in February, but last week, a three-judge panel of the appeals court ruled that the state could not drop the reimbursement rate until at least Aug. 11 (California Healthline, 7/17).
Pharmacists and an independent living center filed the lawsuit to block the cuts from taking effect. The plaintiffs maintain that the cuts will push pharmacists to stop delivering medications to patients, affecting their access to care.
The Department of Health Care Services contested that ruling on Wednesday, arguing that:
- The cuts are legal;
- The payment reductions will not affect pharmacists as severely as they maintain they will; and
- The state budget deficit makes the cuts necessary (Los Angeles Daily Journal, 7/18).
The pay cut was scheduled to take effect on July 1 (California Healthline, 7/17).
The appeals court revoked the injunction on the reimbursement cuts but let another portion of its ruling stand, requiring a lower court to consider whether the cuts violate federal law (Los Angeles Daily Journal, 7/18). 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.