Health Plan Taps Reserve Funds During Budget Delay
Health Plan of San Joaquin will spend up to $13.6 million in reserve funds to reimburse Medi-Cal providers through August to offset a freeze on funding while the state budget remains overdue, the Stockton Record reports (Goldeen, Stockton Record, 8/1).
California since July 1 has been without a budget for fiscal year 2007-2008. The Assembly approved a spending plan, but Senate Republicans are holding out for deeper spending cuts (California Healthline, 8/1).
The Department of Health Care Services on Monday notified Health Plan that Medi-Cal payments for July and probably August would be delayed until a budget is approved.
The plan expected to receive $6.8 million in Medi-Cal funds for July and about the same amount for August.
John Hackworth, CEO of Health Plan, said the reserve funds will serve as a continuation of "regular reimbursement cycles to primary care and specialty physicians and to our hospital partners." The county has 58,000 Medi-Cal beneficiaries.
However, Hackworth noted that the budget stalemate has asked Medi-Cal providers "to absorb their operating costs, and reserve funds and interest are depleted that we could use for other important community health initiatives, such as expanding coverage for the uninsured, improving health access and other important issues that the Health Plan traditionally funds."
Senate Republican Leader Dick Ackerman (R-Irvine) said Republicans are prepared to propose emergency funding measures during the stalemate (Stockton Record, 8/1).