About 500 California hospitals wont receive a total of $227 million in reimbursements from Medi-Cal, the states Medicaid program, starting Thursday because of a state budget impasse.
Among the affected hospitals are those least able to afford it, including rural, county and childrens hospitals, according to the California Hospital Association. Medi-Cal payments can account for 60% or more of hospital revenue.
The state controller is authorized to continue paying physicians, nurses and pharmacists who directly bill to Medi-Cal but cannot pay institutions, including hospitals and insurers. Also affected are about 11,000 long-term-care facilities, hospices and adult day-care centers. The state has nearly 6.8 million Medi-Cal beneficiaries.
California has a $1 billion contingency fund with a federal match for Medi-Cal payments under these circumstances, but that pot of money ran dry at the end of July.
Some hospitals havent received Medi-Cal payments since June.
Kern Medical Center in Bakersfield said it is owed $4.8 million in Medi-Cal payments, and that figure will grow by $700,000 for each week of a delayed state budget. The 177-bed public hospital did not see any help from the states contingency fund in July, and is borrowing from Kern Countys general fund to meet payroll and continue services. The hospital may have to pay 4% interest on the county loan, said Fred Plane, chief financial officer for the medical center.
The budget, which requires two-thirds majorities in the Legislature, has passed the state Assembly but is short several votes in the Senate. -- by Rebecca Vesely
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