UC MEDICAL: Pinched by Medicare Cuts
UC medical officials at a press briefing yesterday blamed the 1997 Balanced Budget Act and the resulting Medicare cutbacks for what they called the "critical condition" of their facilities, sometimes "squeezing the centers to the point of damaging care." William Gurtner, vice president of clinical services development at the university, said, "The system is in desperate trouble." The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the UC system, which depends on Medicare funding to train doctors, has seen nearly 10% -- $225 million -- of its Medicare funding cut. Adding to the mounting financial burden, state law bars teaching centers from turning away uninsured patients, so the hospitals tend to "the sickest patients, requiring the most complex procedures." UC medical centers are not the only ones feeling the pinch, however, as health care providers nationwide have registered similar complaints, arguing that the spending cuts are double the 1997 projected amount (Lochhead, 7/29).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.