Payments to Fresno Hospital Under Federal Investigation
Fresno County's Board of Supervisors on Tuesday held a closed-door meeting to discuss whether to withdraw a deal with Community Medical Centers involving payments to help the hospital qualify for additional Medi-Cal funds, the Fresno Bee reports.
The county last year distributed to Community a lump-sum payment of $18 million to help the hospital balance its budget and leverage additional federal matching funds for Medi-Cal, California's Medicaid program. In past years, the county distributed the funding in monthly installments to pay for care for indigents and county jail inmates.
The state Department of Health Services signed off on the deal, but in January a CMS official said the redistribution of the funds improperly linked Medicaid with care of indigents and inmates.
The county was instructed by CMS to revise its contract with Community in order to maintain the funding.
However, Henry Perea, a county supervisor, said the instructions from CMS were "vague" and did not guarantee that state or federal officials at a later time will not find fault and hold the county liable.
If the deal is broken, Community would have to repay about $18 million it received last year and would lose $36 million over the next two years.
The hospital by June must apply for a second year of funding and wants the contract dispute resolved by the end of May, according to the Bee (Correa, Fresno Bee, 5/23).