Medi-Cal Reimbursement Rate Reduction Takes Effect
A 5% reduction to Medi-Cal provider payment rates took effect on Sunday, drawing criticism from some medical groups and advocates for Medi-Cal beneficiaries about implications for access to care, the Contra Costa Times reports (Kleffman, Contra Costa Times, 1/3). Unless the Legislature extends the rate reduction, it will expire at the end of the year.
According to the Los Angeles Times, about 3.3 million beneficiaries who receive Medi-Cal benefits on a fee-for-service basis could be affected by the rate reduction, which will save the state $65 million in fiscal year 2005-2006. The rate reduction will not apply to hospitals, nursing homes, hospice services, pharmacies, labs or managed care programs that provide Medi-Cal services.
Overall, the state will provide about $13 billion toward Medi-Cal's $34.5 billion budget for the year, with the federal government providing the remainder.
State officials said the reduction is needed to help address the increasing cost of Medi-Cal.
Stan Rosenstein, deputy director for medical services at the Department of Health Services, said the state is seeking input from health care provider groups about other strategies to address Medi-Cal costs.
The California Medical Association is seeking legislation to overturn the reduction (Rivera/Rabin, Los Angeles Times, 1/2).