VENTURA COUNTY: County Officials Will Lobby Congress for Funds
A group of county officials will travel to Washington, D.C. today in an effort to convince federal officials to repeal a rule which reduced Medicare reimbursement payments to county clinics, the Ventura County Star reports. The regulations state that clinics nine miles or farther from the Ventura County Medical Center are not "hospital based," therefore reimbursements under Medicare must be paid lower rates. The new rules were imposed after federal scrutiny following the county's ill-fated mergers of its mental health and social services department. County Interim Chief Administrative Officer Harry Hufford said that the 1999 rule change has cost the county roughly $3 million. County Supervisor Kathy Long said that the regulation imposed in July and retroactive to September 1998 "makes it more costly for the county Health Care Agency to provide basic medical care and mental health services to some poor residents." The five-member group will discuss the issue with officials at HCFA, as well as Sens. Barbara Boxer (D) and Dianne Feinstein (D) (McLain, 2/15).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.