Low Medi-Cal rates affect patient care
Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California, as part of the larger We Care for California coalition, took part in a press conference to a call attention to two bills which would restore money cut from the reimbursement rates paid to providers of Medi-Cal services. California currently has one of the lowest reimbursement rates in the nation. As a result Medi-Cal patients are having difficulty accessing services because there simply aren’t enough providers taking new patients who are covered by Medi-Cal.
The bills, SB 243 and AB 366, authored by Sen. Ed Hernandez and Assemblyman Rob Bonta respectively, would not only repeal prior year reimbursement rate cuts to Medi-Cal, but would also increase payments rates for inpatient hospital services and most outpatient services. In 2011, reimbursement rates paid to doctors, hospitals, dentists and other providers like Planned Parenthood were cut by 10 percent as a way to balance the state’s budget.
More than 100 doctors, nurses, health care workers, patients and Planned Parenthood advocates attended the press event, which was the kickoff to a joint legislative oversight hearing on California’s low Medi-Cal rates held March 4 in Sacramento.
“I am so proud that California has truly led the way implementing the Affordable Care Act. Being Chair of [the Senate Health] committee during this historic time has been one of my life’s great triumphs,” Sen. Hernandez told the crowd assembled for the press conference. “But I’m embarrassed about what we pay providers to see the patients in this state who need care most. And more importantly, I’m ashamed about how that inadequate payment affects access to care. “
Photo: PPAC team with Assemblymember Bonta, Senator Hernandez and Asssemblymember Jim Wood, a dentist.
A 2011 survey funded by the California HealthCare Foundation found that one third of Californians covered by Medi-Cal have difficulty finding find health care providers who will accept their insurance, as compared to 13 percent for people with other coverage, especially for specialists.
“Senator Hernández and I want to ensure that obtaining an insurance card is not an empty promise,” Assemblymember Bonta said. “That’s why we’ve introduced AB 366 and SB 243, to bolster provider participation in the Medi-Cal program, resulting in the reduction of unnecessary costs to the state while ensuring access to high quality health care for California’s children and adults.
“That insurance card should ensure access, and we are committed to ensuring that everyone who has taken the time to enroll is rewarded with real access to health care.”
Increasing the reimbursement rate so our health centers can continue providing preventive health care services more than 750,000 Californians annually is Planned Parenthood’s #1 budget priority this year.
We believe it is time for the state to invest in the Medi-Cal providers, like Planned Parenthood, who will be delivering care.
If you want to stand with Planned Parenthood and the #WeCare4CA coalition as we advocate for Medi-Cal funding, join our email list to get involved. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter and spread the word on social media!