And California, he says, "has it as bad as anybody."
California pays physicians who take care of Medicaid patients about 56% of what it the same services would pay under the Medicare program. California ranks 47th out of 50th in states regarding Medi-Cal spending, according to a CHCF report from April, 2009.
In 2009, the state implemented $134 million in Medi-Cal program cuts, $115 million of which was for cuts in dental services. Other cuts reduced access to speech therapy, podiatric and audiology services, chiropractic and acupuncture care, optometric and optician and psychology services, Perrone says.
Currently, the state proposes to cut 10% more from payments to physicians, clinics, optometrists, therapists, laboratories, dental services, durable medical equipment and pharmacy; 10% cuts to freestanding nursing and adult sub-acute facilities and 10% payment reduction and rate freezes for nursing facility Part B services. They are pending court challenges from physician and hospital groups.
Historically, provider payment rates make California among the lowest, if not the lowest, in terms of physician compensation for care for Medi-Cal patients and at the bottom in terms of Medicaid program spending per beneficiary.