SB 243 and AB 366, Medi-Cal Rates
On May 28, the Legislature considered the bills that were on the Appropriations Committee suspense file, the file for all bills that result in a cost to the state. Two measures that the Forum was supporting that addressed the AB 97 cuts to hospital-based distinct part nursing facilities (DP/NFs) were considered as bills passed off the suspense file or remained there (basically becoming inactive).
SB 243 (Hernandez), which would have eliminated the AB 97 reductions, was held in Appropriations and is therefore likely not moving forward this year.
AB 366 (Bonta), which also would have eliminated the reductions, was amended to become a study bill. In other words, it now will require a study to be done on the subject of Medi-Cal beneficiaries’ access to care and the impact of provider rates on the access.
Both of the above actions are very disappointing.
State Budget Items Related to Medi-Cal Rates
Despite the above disappointments, we continue advocacy efforts to eliminate the reductions in the 15-16 state budget. Currently, there are two versions:
SENATE: Provides one-time funding to exempt one-half of the collection of AB 97 retroactive recoupments for distinct-part nursing facilities in the budget year.
ASSEMBLY: Repeals AB 97 rates cuts, by implementing a 5 percent rate increase on April 1, 2016 and an additional 5 percent rate increase on April 1, 2017.
Since the two houses took different actions, this issue will go to the Budget Conference Committee to potentially reconcile the action. Once the Budget Conference Committee is appointed (expected with a day or two), we’ll request grassroots advocacy from all of you as appropriate.
In related news, a large rally aimed at urging lawmakers to repeal the AB 97 (2011) Medi-Cal payment cuts and to permanently increase Medi-Cal funding to all health care providers will take place on Tuesday, June 2 at the State Capitol. CHA, along with a broad-based coalition of Medi-Cal providers, is sponsoring the event.
The rally, which will take place from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m., includes speakers throughout the day who will talk about the importance of fully funding Medi-Cal and the impact on patients and families. CHA President/CEO C. Duane Dauner will be among the speakers during the main stage program, which will take place from 12:45-1:45 p.m.