Analysis Points To Rising Money Problems for Community Clinics
The percentage of community clinics that were breaking even or running a deficit increased to 68% in 2006 from 63% in 2004, according to an analysis the California HealthCare Foundation commissioned, the Los Angeles Times reports.
For the analysis, Capital Link, a Boston-based not-for-profit consulting group, conducted an analysis of state and Internal Revue Service records.
The analysis found that:
- 53% of low-income Californians sought care at community clinics in 2006, up from 39% in 2003;
- 52% of community clinics' revenue comes from Medicare or Medi-Cal, California's Medicaid program; and
- 23% of community clinics' revenue came from contracts and grants from federal, state and local government agencies.
According to the Times, the findings could pose problems for public health officials and government officials who have touted community clinics as alternatives to hospital emergency departments for low-income residents and the uninsured.
Melissa Schoen, a senior program officer for CHCF, said the findings "highlight the vulnerability" of community clinics as government officials consider scaling back Medi-Cal and other funding.Â She said the number of patients seeking care at the clinics likely will increase as unemployment rises and more people lose employer-sponsored coverage (Lin, Los Angeles Times, 3/14).
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