Medi-Cal cuts in California pose threat to public health

Medi-Cal cuts in California pose threat to public health

California's planned cuts in Medi-Cal reimbursement rates could jeopardize the heath of numerous children and families in the state, experts warned.

A federal court ruling earlier this month allowed California to go on with its plans to make cuts in the Medi-Cal rates, which means lower reimbursements to doctors.

The doctors who take low-income Medi-Cal patients are getting reimbursed for providing health services at 1985 rates. Evaluation suggests that reimbursements being give to Californian doctors are among the lowest in the country.

According to the California Medical Association, the proposed 10 per cent rate cuts implies that doctors will get only $11 per Medi-Cal patient visit in reimbursements, while costs to provide the medical service plus overhead costs are three times more than that.

Dr. William Lewis, former president of the Santa Clara County Medical Association, had said last summer, "If they can get established with a physician at all, they have to wait much longer for an appointment and as a result, they are going to the emergency room for routine care that clogs up the ER."

Speaking about the plight of Medi-Cal patients, Dr. Lewis had also warned that adding more people to the scheme without adding doctors would only make the situation ever worse.

 

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