L.A. County Supervisors Vote To Cut Indigent Care Reimbursements
Supervisors said the cuts are the result of declining state revenue from tobacco taxes and other sources.
Health care providers can qualify for PSIP if a patient fails to pay for services. More than 5,000 physicians and dozens of hospitals are enrolled in the program.
The number of payment claims under PSIP increased to 566,000 in the past fiscal year compared with about 370,000 in FY 2002.
The increase likely is the result of rising health care costs and the county's high number of uninsured residents, according to the Press-Telegram.
Details of the Plan
Under the supervisors' plan, physicians participating in the program will be reimbursed for 14% of the cost of the services they provide to indigent patients, down from 29% two years ago and 34% in FY 2002.
Physicians who have outstanding claims for treatment provided in the last fiscal year will be reimbursed for 12% of those services.
Officials from the county's Department of Health Services have said that if they do not reduce the reimbursement rate, some claims will have to go unpaid.
Health Care Providers' Response
Jim Lott, CEO of the Hospital Association of Southern California, said that the costs of unreimbursed care ultimately will fall on hospitals that contract with physicians.
He said, "When the doctors don't get paid, then they're going to come after the hospital to get paid."
This year, the cost of unreimbursed care in the county is expected to be more than $150 million.
Lott added that hospitals in low-income areas will especially be affected by the cuts because they serve greater numbers of uninsured patients (Evans, Long Beach Press-Telegram, 10/18).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.