State Warns Some Health Care Providers That It May Miss Medi-Cal Payments
State officials last week sent letters to nursing homes and clinics statewide warning that the state might not make Medi-Cal payments to certain providers if the Legislature does not approve a budget before July 1, the Los Angeles Times reports. The letter, written by the Department of Finance, states that unless lawmakers appropriate money to cover a $727 million Medi-Cal budget shortfall, payments to certain health care providers "will cease to be made." The Times reports that federal law requires the state to continue payments to individual providers, including physicians and pharmacists. The state currently is paying its bills with an $11 billion bridge loan that expires in August. Department of Health Services officials said that they can use a $1 billion loan to make Medi-Cal payments for medical care provided after July 1, the beginning of the new fiscal year. However, Medi-Cal payments for services provided in the interim are still in jeopardy, according to the Times.
"Losing a week of Medi-Cal payments, when clinics are struggling to meet payroll, will put clinics in a very difficult financial situation," Carmela Castellano, CEO of the California Primary Care Association, said. Sherreta Lane, vice president of reimbursements for the California Healthcare Association, said, "From the patient perspective it might not be as visible or noticeable. The worst case is that providers have already rendered services and it could be a long time for them getting paid." DHS Deputy Director of Medical Services Stan Rosenstein said he expects that state lawmakers eventually will approve a budget and providers will receive payment (Halper/Nicholas, Los Angeles Times, 6/25).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.