San Joaquin Valley Clinics Reopen With Emergency Loans
Loans from Health Net of California and an anonymous Tulare man helped clinics in Tipton and Pixley reopen after they closed because of a loss of Medi-Cal provider payments during the state budget deficit, the Fresno Bee reports (Jimenez/Correa, Fresno Bee, 8/16).
The state has not made about $787 million in Medi-Cal provider payments since the July 1 start of the fiscal year, and an additional $271 million will not be paid to Medi-Cal providers on Thursday unless a budget is approved.
Without a budget in place, California 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. Physicians, pharmacists and other health care providers that bill Medi-Cal directly have continued to receive provider payments from the state (California Healthline, 8/14).
Health Net of California provided a $50,000, no-interest loan that helped the clinics to reopen on Saturday. About 600 Health Net members receive services at the clinics, according to Health Net spokesperson Brad Kieffer.
A Tulare resident who wishes to remain anonymous lent the clinics an undisclosed amount of money, for which they paid about $20,000 in loan fees.
The loans are expected to keep the facilities afloat through the second week of September.
Tony Cava, a spokesperson for the Department of Health Care Services, estimates that the state owes health care providers and managed care plans more than $1 billion in Medi-Cal payments.
Carmela Castellano-Garcia -- president and CEO of the California Primary Care Association, which represents about 600 not-for-profit and community health clinics statewide -- said that the budget deadlock is hurting clinics throughout California. She estimates that rural clinics rely on state health insurance programs for about 70% of their income.
CPCA had a reserve fund of about $3 million for low-interest loans to help clinics maintain services, but the fund has been depleted, according to Castellano-Garcia (Fresno Bee, 8/16).
NPR's "Morning Edition" on Thursday reported on the possibility of health clinics and other facilities having to close because of the budget stalemate (Jaffe, NPR, "Morning Edition," 8/16).
Audio of the segment is available online.