Inside This Issue - News
Appeals court to consider Medi-Cal case
November 5th, 2012
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The National Association of Chain Drug Stores and several other heath care groups are continuing their efforts to block the state of California from cutting Medi-Cal reimbursement rates.
In the spring of 2011 the California legislature passed and Gov. Jerry Brown signed AB 97, which included a 10% reimbursement rate cut for doctors, dentists, pharmacists and other Medi-Cal providers. However, federal approval was required before California could implement the cuts.
In January federal court judge Christina Snyder issued a decision to block state officials from proceeding with the cut. The state subsequently appealed the decision and the case went to the United States 9th Circuit Court of Appeals late last month.
“We urge the court to rule in favor of preserving patient access to pharmacy care,” said Steve Anderson, president and chief executive officer of NACDS. “Many patients rely on services provided by community pharmacy, such as flu shots, medication counseling and health screenings. If implemented, the Medi-Cal cuts could compromise patient health and access to some of these pharmacy services, which would also drive up health care costs.”
NACDS has closed ranks with the California Medical Association, the California Dental Association, California Pharmacists Association (CPhA), California Association of Medical Product Suppliers, AIDS Health care Foundation and American Medical Response in attempting to block the reimbursement cuts.
“We expect the appeal to be met with the same verdict Judge Snyder handed down in January, which is to block the Medi-Cal reimbursement cuts,” commented Jon Roth, chief executive officer of CPhA. “It’s very clear that if the state moves forward with Medi-Cal payment cuts, access to care for patients is sure to worsen. Many pharmacists throughout the state will have no choice but to turn away new Medi-Cal patients or be forced to stop accepting Medi-Cal altogether, which will end up sending California’s poorest, most vulnerable citizens to the hospital or emergency room for care.”
Data that was compiled by Kaiser State Health Facts shows California as the state with the lowest reimbursements in the country, with an average of $3,527 per enrollee in 2009. The national average was $5,535.