A California bill reforming the way Medi-Cal, the state's Medicaid program, funds nursing homes appears to be headed for passage as the state's legislative session comes to a close. California's Assembly Committee on Health was scheduled to discuss a version of the bill that was amended in the Senate before being approved 29-1 on Thursday. The full Assembly is expected to vote on the bill before the legislative session comes to a close on Friday. The bill would base payments on staffing costs and care provided instead of giving the facilities a flat fee per resident. It also calls for nursing homes to pay a tax, which would likely give the state access to up to $250 million in federal matching funds. However, the matching funds provision needs CMS approval. Under the bill's current language, continuing-care and multilevel retirement communities would be exempt from the tax because they have the fewest number of Medi-Cal enrollees compared with other long-term-care facilities. The CMS has approved exemptions for continuing-care retirement communities in North Carolina and Oregon but hasn't exempted multilevel retirement communities, according to Jack Christy, policy director of California Association of Homes and Services for the Aging, which fought for the exemptions in the bill. -- by Joseph Mantone
Bill to reform Medi-Cal funding of nursing homes
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