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CA budget BS prompts local medical summit BS

A week after state budget cuts to health care went into effect, North State doctors, hospital administrators, county officials and business leaders are meeting to discuss the impact the cuts will have on health care providers and patients.

On July 1, California health care providers, hospitals, doctors, pharmacies, adult day health care providers, dentists, clinics all saw their Medi-Cal reimbursement rates cut by 10 percent, despite that California already ranks near the bottom of the nation in Medi-Cal rates. Many providers are ending their participation in the Medi-Cal program or have stopped providing services altogether.

The health care cuts in the state budget will increase the number of uninsured Californians and put more pressure on already burdened and crowded emergency rooms.

The meeting is set for 11:30 a.m. Thursday, July 10, 2008, at Mercy Medical Center in Redding.

Attending: Rick Barnett, Mercy Medical Center Redding president; Dr. Daniel Lensink, North Valley Medical Association president; Dr. Rob Hamilton, Emergency Medical Services director, Mercy Redding; Larry Lees, Shasta County administrative officer; Jeff Avery, Greater Redding Chamber of Commerce president; Doreen Bradshaw, Shasta Consortium of Community Health Centers executive director.

From press releases.
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With all due respect for the great numbers of medical professionals who provide such necessary care here, I call bullshit.

Sorry, guys, but you knew this was coming a long time ago. Heck, I knew it was coming a long time ago. Why wait until after the fact to discuss the effect on providers and patients? One look at the participants tells me this is less about patient health care and more about provider revenue. I'm not against doctors making a living. I'm against the health care industry pretending it's only about the patients. Stop it. If patients were that important to you, you'd have met eight weeks ago to find a way to subsidize services until the state pulls its act together.

3 comments:

  1. Has anyone besides me ever noticed that when there's supposedly no money, the same groups/entities always lose? That would be women, children, old folks, animals, the environment and all those people out there who didn't have much of anything to start with. Why can't we get it straight that when we hurt others, we hurt ourselves - sometimes we just don't feel the pain immediately.

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  2. You need to feel free to get more educated before you comment. Do you know how much medi-cal acutually pays for the services that are provided. Talk to a medi-cal biller, find out. For example, for an epidural, medi-cal pays the provider $87.00. I was informed of this recently from a gal in the billing office at Patient's hospital. That amount would not pay for the medication put into the epidural catheter, much less the medical supplies needed to places. I guess these caring doctors and hospitals should take that out of their children's mouths. You need to understand that if a good percentage of your patients are medi-cal patients then that sure could put a damper on your practice. I have heard lately that Redding Medical Center is up for sale again for this very reason.

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  3. I completely understand that MediCal doesn't pay squat. I also know that there are many doctors out there treating these people because they see need there and care more about their patients than the money. Most doctors, however, are salaried. They are not paid a percentage of their billings unless they are a sole practitioner. My issue is with the policies of state government, not with dedicated physicians. The physicians are as trapped as their patients. This down-the-drain system is why Shasta Community is going under and has been for a long time. The vast majority of their patients are MediCal. And, as I stated before, here we are providing less again - cutting back - the result, the doctors get screwed, the patients get screwed and ultimately everyone else out here gets screwed. It's the system and the attitude that prevails in that system that needs fixing, not the doctors.

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