Long-Term Care Facilities File Lawsuit Over Delayed Medi-Cal Payments
The California Association of Health Facilities, along with two long-term care homes and two patients, is suing to require California to provide Medi-Cal provider payments to health care institutions when a state budget has not been approved, the Sacramento Bee reports. Medi-Cal is California's Medicaid program.
The state has not paid more than $750 million in Medi-Cal reimbursements to health care providers because the Legislature has not approved a state budget. A reserve fund projected to cover Medi-Cal reimbursements for two months was exhausted after one month because of medical inflation and a change of accounting rules.
Physicians, pharmacists and other health care providers that bill Medi-Cal directly have continued to receive provider payments from the state. Because of the budget gridlock, the state has suspended Medi-Cal provider payments to long-term care facilities, nursing homes, hospitals and some other health care providers that do not bill Medi-Cal directly.
In the lawsuit, plaintiffs maintain that California is prejudiced in maintaining reimbursements for health care providers that directly bill Medi-Cal and argue that the difference in policy violates the constitutional rights of health care providers and Medi-Cal beneficiaries.
The lawsuit names as defendants Department of Health Care Services Secretary Sandra Shewry and state Controller John Chiang (D).
Tony Cava, a DHCS spokesperson, said the state has not received the lawsuit and declined to comment on it (Lin, Sacramento Bee, 8/11).