Health Care Providers Expect Budget Debate To Delay Medi-Cal Payments
Health care providers in Humboldt County are working on contingency funding plans in case a budget impasse delays Medi-Cal payments for an extended time, the Eureka Reporter reports. Medi-Cal is California's Medicaid program.
Beginning June 18, the state plans to delay Medi-Cal payments until a budget agreement is approved by the Legislature and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R), according to the Reporter.
Many county health care and social services providers believe that the budget will not be approved by the July 1 state constitutional deadline, with the Reporter noting that the governor signed last year's budget on Aug. 24.
Along with the protracted budget debate last year, the state delayed Medi-Cal payments to providers beginning in July, one month earlier than planned this year.
Jan Emerson, spokesperson for the California Hospital Association, said, "Eventually, we'll get the money, but that means some hospitals may not be able to make payroll, and if they borrow the money for payroll, the state doesn't pay the interest."
Herrmann Spetzler, executive director of the Open Door Community Health Centers, said, "It's a cash flow issue that I don't think our safety net providers have the ability to weather" (Harrison, Eureka Reporter, 5/1).