Nursing Home Advocates Sue Schwarzenegger Over Asset Collection Emergency Regulation
The California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform on Friday filed a lawsuit against Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) alleging that he illegally changed the state's policy on collecting assets from Medi-Cal beneficiaries after they die, the Sacramento Bee reports. Schwarzenegger last month enacted an emergency regulation to expand the state's policy on what types of assets could be collected.
CANHR claims that the governor and officials at the Department of Health Services should not have enacted the regulation because there was no emergency. The suit is the second legal challenge to an emergency regulation from Schwarzenegger, following a California Nurses Association suit over an regulation regarding nurse staffing ratios, the Bee reports (Benson, Sacramento Bee, 4/9).
In other Medi-Cal news, Scripps Health officials said they would stop admitting Medi-Cal patients for nonemergency care at the system's five hospitals if the state does not agree to increase reimbursements by May 1, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
According to Scripps officials, at least 3,400 patients would be affected by the change. Particularly affected would be Chula Vista and Hillcrest hospitals, where more than 2,400 Medi-Cal patients receive care.
Scripps CEO Chris Van Gorder said the hospital system learned it was receiving "inexplicably" lower payments for nonemergency inpatient care compared with comparable hospitals in northern California, the Union-Tribune reports. He said Scripps also receives less money than hospitals with similar levels of trauma and surgical expertise.
Scripps executives and California officials have been negotiating reimbursement rates for more than four months.
"This is a very serious decision and not one we take lightly. But we cannot continue taking care of the state's beneficiaries and pass costs on to the insured patients," Van Gorder said.
According to the Union-Tribune, Medi-Cal reimbursement rates must be kept confidential for four years, and Scripps Vice President Marc Reynolds only said that a "major increase" is needed. Some doctors say that if negotiations between the state and Scripps fail, the affected Medi-Cal patients would drive up health care costs in the state by requiring more costly or emergency care (Clark, San Diego Union-Tribune, 4/10).