Hospital leaders urge support for protecting health care providers from Medi-Cal cuts

Published on May 5, 2013 at 12:44 PM · No Comments

Citing the real impact cutting the safety net would have on the most vulnerable residents, San Diego County Supervisors Greg Cox and Dianne Jacob joined with local hospital leaders today to call on the California Legislature and Governor Brown to spare hospital-based skilled-nursing facilities and other health care providers from devastating Medi-Cal cuts.  Both Assembly Bill 900 by Assemblymember Luis Alejo (D-Salinas) and Senate Bill 640 by Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Long Beach) would reverse the Medi-Cal cuts that were enacted in 2011. 

"As I've said before, what happens in Sacramento doesn't stay in Sacramento," said Cox, Chairman of the Board of Supervisors. "Unless the Legislature and Governor Brown take action, the health and safety of California's most medically complex patients, frail seniors and disabled people will be at risk.  Here in San Diego County, these cuts would come to $6.6 million moving forward and $10.4 million in retroactive repayments.  We have a moral obligation to care for the most vulnerable.  It's time for Sacramento to assist local governments by restoring this critical funding."

"If the state fails to stop its pending cuts to Medi-Cal, the most vulnerable members of our community will pay the biggest price," said Supervisor Jacob. "These are courageous people who face challenges every day and need the intense level of care that comes at a place like the Edgemoor Skilled-Nursing Facility in my district. The cuts would be a travesty and we must not allow a special place like Edgemoor to become a victim of the state's budget problems."

Cox and Jacob spoke at a press conference at Edgemoor Hospital/DPSNF in Santee, where they were joined by Steve Escoboza , CEO of the Hospital Association of San Diego and Imperial Counties; Walter Hekimian , CEO of Edgemoor Hospital; Tony Guerra , CFO of Sharp Coronado; Pablo Velez , CEO of Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center and Marilyn Bailey , nursing director at Palomar's Villa Pomerado.  Together, they are dedicated to raising awareness of the issue as attention shifts to the Governor's May Budget Revision and subsequent deliberations to enact the 2013-14 State Budget.  They encouraged the public to learn more about the issue by going to www.CaringisourCalling.org, a website sponsored by the California Hospital Association. Visitors can watch a series of videos featuring patients and their families across California who rely on skilled-nursing facilities for their health care needs, and directly connect with their legislator to urge them to protect patients.

"The Medi-Cal cuts are not just bad for health care providers and patients, they also pose a risk to the state's overall economy," said Escoboza.  "Although the state projects the cuts to hospital-based skilled-nursing units will result in a $58 million per year savings in the General Fund, that is only an educated guess. What we do know is that these cuts could translate into a loss of up to 36,000 jobs (16,000 direct caregiver jobs, plus the ripple effect in the broader economy) and a decline of up to $2 billion in statewide economic activity.  These cuts are a classic example of the state being penny-wise and pound-foolish."

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