Judge Expected To Block Medi-Cal Payment Cuts Set To Begin March 1
On Monday, a federal judge indicated that she likely would block Medi-Cal payment cuts set to go into effect March 1, the Los Angeles Daily Journal reports (George, Los Angeles Daily Journal, 2/23).
Medi-Cal is California's Medicaid program.
The rate cuts were enacted in September 2008 as part of the fiscal year 2008-2009 budget. Beginning March 1, budget legislation directs the Department of Health Care Services to cut Medi-Cal reimbursement rates by 5% for:
- Rural and skilled nursing facilities;
- Some hospitals; and
- Sub-acute care.
In addition, the legislation calls for a 1% reduction for all other Medi-Cal fee-for-service benefits.
On Jan. 29, a coalition of hospitals, pharmacies, other care providers and Medi-Cal beneficiaries filed a lawsuit attempting to block the cuts.
The suit contended that lawmakers did not undertake a thorough analysis of how the latest round of reimbursement cuts would affect Medi-Cal beneficiaries' access to care. The lawsuit also argued that the state did not get federal permission before adopting the changes (California Healthline, 2/4).
In her tentative ruling, Judge Christina Snyder said that California officials had failed to convince her that the cuts would not "irreparably harm" the patients who rely on necessary medications or that they had seriously studied the effect of the cuts before implementing them (Los Angeles Daily Journal, 2/23).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.