San Joaquin Valley Clinics Warn of Problems From Medi-Cal Cuts
Clinic operators in the San Joaquin Valley say delayed Medi-Cal payments and other state funding cuts could result in scaled-back services or reduced hours that could affect access to health care for uninsured and low-income residents, the Fresno Bee reports. Medi-Cal is California's Medicaid program.
Last month, state lawmakers approved legislation that will push back Medi-Cal payments due to health care providers at the end of June to July 2 and all payments due in August to September. The move will affect about $60 million in payments to clinics in the San Joaquin Valley.
Ben Flores, chief operating officer of United Health Centers of the San Joaquin Valley, said that it is difficult for clinics to accommodate such payment delays, explaining that his organization sets budgets about 18 months in advance and has little excess revenue.
Clinic operators are trying to secure loans to tide them over during the payment delays, and the California Primary Care Association is in talks with the California Endowment to secure some financial assistance for clinic operators.
David Quackenbush -- chief operating officer of the Central Valley Health Network, which represents federally qualified health centers in the region -- said that some clinics will have to limit hours or close temporarily without financial help.
A report that CVHN released on Friday estimates about 10% of the population in the region used the clinics for health care services in 2007 (Schultz, Fresno Bee, 3/7).