CHA News

CHA Meets With CMS Administrator Berwick in Washington, D.C.

Urges CMS to reject proposed Medi-Cal cuts

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CHA joined 25 members of the Alliance for Patient Care, a coalition of health care providers, health plans and patient advocates, for several meetings in Washington, D.C., this week to urge the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to reject California’s proposed cuts to Medi-Cal.

CHA President/CEO C. Duane Dauner and Marcia Hall, CEO of Sharp Coronado Hospital and Healthcare Center, met with CMS Administrator Donald Berwick, MD, and CMS Deputy Administrator Cindy Mann for more than an hour. The meeting was an unprecedented convening of providers and patient advocacy groups united in opposition to the proposed cuts.

Berwick and Mann welcomed input from the coalition members, and were highly receptive to the provider perspective. They encouraged hospitals to continue to provide information in the future to help in their decision making.

Dauner and Hall also met with the staff of several members of the California congressional delegation, including Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, and Reps. Nancy Pelosi, Henry Waxman, Xavier Becerra, Pete Stark, Barbara Lee, Jackie Speier and Lois Capps.

The State Budget Act of 2011, signed by Gov. Brown on March 24, includes significant cuts to Medi-Cal reimbursement rates for skilled-nursing facilities and subacute-care units that are distinct parts of hospitals. CMS must approve the cuts before they can go into effect. In meetings, CHA urged CMS to deny any proposed California State Plan Amendment that would implement the provider rate reductions and other harmful changes to the Medi-Cal program because these provisions would impair access for patients, and ultimately hinder the implementation of health care reform in California.

“CMS must reject the state’s proposed rate cuts,” said Hall. “Otherwise, my facility and many others may not be able to continue providing care.”