LA County health clinics debate Medi-Cal cuts

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A healthcare professional reaches for a tool when caring for a patient.

The federal government has approved California’s plans to cut its reimbursement rates for health care providers under the Medi-Cal program. Local clinics say the cuts might hurt struggling clinics and vulnerable Angelenos.

Louise McCarthy heads the Community Clinic Association of Los Angeles County that represents 57 non-profit medical clinics.

McCarthy says some of them will lose money because of the cuts, but that the greatest impact will be on independent providers who’ve barely hung on to serve Medi-Cal patients.

"Those who’ve said ‘well, I will deal with more bureaucracy, okay, I will take a little less pay in order to see this population.’ But year after year when they’re making those calculations, lots of providers are opting out," she said. McCarthy says this means, "patients will not get access to those providers that have previously seen them."

The Golden State plans to reduce reimbursement rates by 10 percent to physicians, clinics, optometrists, dentists, and pharmacies.

The state Department of Health Care Services says the cuts are a painful yet necessary action during difficult budgetary times.

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