Medi-Cal ruling overturned

Appeals court approves possible 10 percent reimbursement cut

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a lower court’s decision in regard to Medi-Cal payments for health-care providers.

In October 2011, Children’s Medical Services (CMS) OK’d the state’s plan to reduce certain Medi-Cal payments by 10 percent, but U.S. District Court Judge Christina Snyder blocked the cut in January of this year, writing, “California’s fiscal crisis does not outweigh the serious irreparable injury plaintiffs would suffer absent the issuance of an injunction,” according to The Sacramento Bee. The state projected that a 10 percent reimbursement cut to clinics, dentists, laboratories, optometrists, pharmacists and some nursing facilities would save $623 million.

The new ruling allows U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to determine whether a state’s Medicaid plan complies with federal law. Critics of the ruling believe it will make it more difficult for patients to find physicians willing to accept Medi-Cal beneficiaries as patients.