California HealthCare Foundation donates $10M for low-interest clinic loans

The California HealthCare Foundation has contributed $10 million to a low-interest loan pool that helps clinics for the poor and uninsured provide care during the state's budget impasse. This follows a similar move by several hospital groups, including Sutter Health and Catholic Healthcare West, which announced in late July that they had kicked in $11.8 million. The fund, administered by nonprofit lender NCB Capital Impact, now totals $24 million. NCB Capital Impact will handle underwriting, approval, documentation and servicing of the loans.

The funds are intended to help the California Primary Care Association's (CPCA) 700 member clinics, which are losing $1,500 each minute that the state fails to resolve its budget woes, the group says. According to the CPCA, 41 percent of clinics are able to cover operating expenses for 30 days without reimbursement from Medi-Cal, the state's Medicaid program. However, once they run out they might otherwise be forced to turn to traditional lines of credit, interest rates for which can run as high as 14.5 percent.

To date, only 26 clinics have applied for funding, a small fraction of the 700 health centers and clinics statewide, possibly because they're still functioning based on checks issued at the end of July, observers say. To qualify, clinics must be nonprofit primary care, family planning or tribal clinics in existence for three years prior to their application. The clinics will be eligible to receive a total of $500,000 or 90 days' operating expenses at a modest interest rate.

To learn more about the program:
- read this California HealthCare Foundation article

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