On Thursday, health care providers, local leaders, and advocates for the poor and elderly convened at Riverside County Medical Center in Moreno Valley to decry Medi-Cal provider payment cuts and a temporary Medi-Cal payment freeze, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reports. Medi-Cal is California's Medicaid program.
In February, a law cutting Medi-Cal reimbursement rates by 10% was approved to help address the state budget deficit.
Medi-Cal payments are on hold for health care institutions because lawmakers have not approved a state budget and an emergency fund intended to cover Medi-Cal payments in such situations has been exhausted.
Dev GnanaDev, president-elect of the California Medical Association, said, "What I am sad for is the seven million poor people who have Medi-Cal," adding, "What the governor and the state Legislature are doing is making these poor seven million people pawns in their game."
Riverside Mayor Ron Loveridge and Moreno Valley Mayor William Batey also attended the rally.
Implications of Cuts, Payment Freezes
Attendants at the rally warned that the cuts could lead to many doctors, dentists, adult day health care operators and pharmacists to stop participating in the program (Hines, Riverside Press-Enterprise, 7/31).
As for the payment freezes, the state has notified hospitals that they will not receive any further Medi-Cal payments until a budget agreement is approved.
Jan Emerson, a spokesperson for the California Hospital Association, said Medi-Cal accounts for 60% of some hospitals' revenue (Reiter, Merced Sun-Star, 7/31).