New ruling blocks California Medicaid cuts

A federal judge ruled last week to block California’s plan to cut Medicaid payments to hospitals by 10 percent.

[See also: California court halts prescription cuts under Medi-Cal]

In June, the state introduced the cuts to its Medi-Cal program in an attempt to save $623 million from the state’s budget, but physicians, pharmacists and hospital groups argued the reimbursement cuts would make it more difficult for Medicaid patients to access care.

The California Hospital Association petitioned a federal district court in November to grant a preliminary injunction to prevent the cuts, which would primarily affect hospital-based skilled nursing facilities.

“During months of conversations with state and federal officials, hospitals across California provided compelling evidence about the impact these cuts will have on access to care for our most vulnerable patients,” said C. Duane Dauner, president and CEO of the CHA in a prepared statement released in November. “We believe that the cuts are in violation of federal Medicaid law and without regard for the welfare of thousands of patients with complex medical needs.”

U.S. District Court Judge Christina Snyder granted the preliminary injunction on Dec. 28, blocking the rate cut to nursing units within hospitals, after concluding that the state had failed to properly review whether Medi-Cal patients would lose adequate access to care.