Ed Mendel at the San Diego Union Tribune reports that our protracted, though expected, budget stalemate is leaving lots of rural hospitals in a bind. Many of these hospitals, which run on really thin margins as it is, are having to seek emergency loans from banks, which are also stretched thin because of larger economic issues — like that mortage thing.
To exacerbate health care access, beginning next week, the state will not be paying Medi-Cal to the state’s 600 community clinics. The clinics, which serve 3.6 million people annually, are the most efficient way to deliver regular preventive care to the Medi-Cal and uninsured population.
Ironically, the rural areas that are experiencing the most immediate problems are represented by Republicans, who have talked about how they don’t want to cut provider rates and make sure health care access is preserved, but in conference committee voted against all of the rate reimbursement increases for providers who care for Medi-Cal recipients.