‘Big hit’ on Medi-Cal | TheUnion.com
YOUR AD HERE »

‘Big hit’ on Medi-Cal

Despite a steady increase in Nevada County Medi-Cal patients the past four years, many recipients face fewer services under Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s proposed 10 percent budget cuts, The Union has found.

The proposal to cut about $14.5 billion across the board includes a $1.1 billion reduction in Medi-Cal that would eliminate dental, vision and chiropractic care, according to the state Health and Human Services Agency. It would also cut in-home support services and eliminate speech therapy, psychology, audiology, and incontinence creams and washes.

Many elderly Medi-Cal patients depend on in-home services, such as meal preparation and food shopping, to avoid institutional care. Nevada County is one of the state’s oldest counties by age of residents.



Patients with the Miners Community Health Center, Chapa De Indian Health Services and the Sierra Family Medical Clinic on the San Juan Ridge would not be affected because they are federal health centers, according to Nevada County Health and Human Services Agency officials.

But individual providers and Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital could be impacted by 10 percent cuts to reimbursement rates, county Health and Human Services Agency Director Jeff Brown said.




“The law as it is proposed will be a significant reduction to our operating income,” said hospital spokesperson Brett Bentley. “Ten percent is a big hit” on the hospital’s Medi-Cal services, which constitutes just under 8 percent of its budget.

Patients with the Miners Community Health Center, Chapa De Indian Health Services and the Sierra Family Medical Clinic on the San Juan Ridge would not be affected because they are federal health centers, according to Nevada County Health and Human Services Agency officials.

Medi-Cal is fully funded by federal and state dollars, and Nevada County does not use local taxes to administer it or for payments for clients.

But the caseload is having an impact at the county’s Health and Human Services Agency, which has increased almost 37 percent in average cases per month during the past four recorded years.

In fiscal year 2002-2003, there were 2,854 average monthly cases, compared with 3,634 in fiscal year 2006-2007.

Each case could include several family members and does not represent an individual. For fiscal year 2006-2007, the county probably had more like 5,000 individuals per average month using Medi-Cal, Brown said, and up to 8,000 when counting people who also get Social Security.

Brown said the increasing numbers reflect welfare recipients who get off various forms of assistance but retain Medi-Cal medical benefits once they get a job.


Support Local Journalism


Support Local Journalism

Readers around Grass Valley and Nevada County make The Union’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.

 

Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User