Lawmakers OK Bill To Extend Nursing Home Payment Structure
On Saturday, the state Senate passed a bill (ABX1 19) that temporarily extends an existing payment structure for nursing homes, the Sacramento Bee's "Capitol Alert" reports (Dave, "Capitol Alert," Sacramento Bee, 6/12).
The Assembly already has passed the measure (Bill status, 6/11).
Extending AB 1629
AB 1629 aimed to address nursing homes' low Medi-Cal reimbursement rates by replacing the flat fee-per-patient system with one that provided reimbursements based on the cost of care. Medi-Cal is California's Medicaid program (California Healthline, 4/19/10).
Between 2004 and 2008, nursing homes collected about $880 million under the new payment structure.
Temporary Medi-Cal Rate Cuts
In addition to extending the nursing home payment structure, ABX1 19 allows nursing homes to dodge a 10% Medi-Cal rate cut targeting physicians and most other health care providers.
Instead, the legislation requires nursing homes to face a 7.6% Medi-Cal reimbursement reduction this fiscal year. The cut, which is expected to total about $400 million, will be returned to the nursing homes by the end of 2012.
Nancy Reagan, general counsel for the California Association of Health Facilities, said the rate cut means that a 99-bed nursing home could face a temporary loss of about $600,000 until the funds are returned.
Out of about 1,100 nursing homes in California, about 645 receive half or more of their funding from Medi-Cal (California Watch, 6/13).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.