CA Medicaid payments to hospitals stalled

With the state's $2 billion contingency fund now tapped out, hospitals in California are facing an extended wait for Medicaid payments as legislators wrangle over the state budget. Though some payments were issued this week, many hospitals are out of luck until state legislators resolve their issues. They're wrangling over methods to resolve the state's $17 billion budget shortfall, notably the governor's proposed cuts to social-service and healthcare programs.

Medicaid, which is known as Medi-Cal there, accounts for 20 percent of revenue for the state's hospitals overall. Some, however, are much more dependent on Medicaid income, with rural and safety net facilities often counting on Medi-Cal for 60 percent or more of revenue. The budget impasse has already led to a month-long delay in payment, and checks could be delayed another four weeks even after the budget issue is resolved due to provisions of state law. It makes you wonder whether the state legislature thinks that rural and safety-net hospitals, in particular, don't really need their income.

To find out more about the state's Medicaid issues:
- read this Modern Healthcare piece (reg. req.)

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