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Judge trims time in Medi-Cal 10% fee ruling

San Francisco Chronicle, September 4, 2008
A federal judge has scaled back an order overturning a 10% cut in Medi-Cal fees to thousands of doctors and other health professionals, sparing California from tens of millions of dollars of reimbursements over seven weeks and requiring repayment only for services performed on or after Aug. 18. The judge had ruled Aug. 18 that the fee reductions threatened healthcare for many of Medi-Cal's 6.6 million low-income patients and appeared to violate federal standards for access to high-quality medical services. She ordered state officials to reimburse healthcare providers dating back to July 1. But after lawyers for the Medi-Cal program argued that the Constitution shields states from retroactive damage awards, the judge revised her ruling to eliminate the back payments and require full fees at pre-July 1 levels only from Aug. 18 onward.