California Watch
A Project of the Center for Investigative Reporting
Health and Welfare

August 27, 2010 | Christina Jewett

Scores of medical providers that rely on the Medi-Cal program for funding are now getting “value of claims” statements in lieu of payments.

The Medi-Cal agency ran out of funding for providers that typically see $300 million per month from the state, said Anthony Cava, a spokesman with the Department of Health Care Services, which runs Medi-Cal.

He said about $188 million of that typically goes to health clinics.

Carmela Castellano-Garcia runs California Primary Care Association, a nonprofit that represents about 800 of the state’s health centers and clinics that serve about 4 million patients, mostly uninsured. She said the facilities tend to get half to 80 percent of their funding from the program for low-income residents.

Castellano-Garcia, president of the association, said funding cuts instituted last year and this year’s dire budget situation have left some clinics on the brink of closing their doors. Short of that, she said the budget shakiness leads to health worker layoffs and limits to services.

“We’re in cash-strapped and precarious circumstances to lose 50 to 80 percent of our revenue – that’s a devastating blow to the health care safety net,” Castellano-Garcia said.

Staff from the group walked the halls of the Capitol last week, handing out “You owe Us” statements to lawmakers, a riff on the IOUs that the clinics are getting.

While a glimmer of hope emerged yesterday with the state’s top five leaders meeting, no budget fix has been announced.

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