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Legislature Must Address “Unfinished Business” To ProtectCalifornia’s Most Vulnerable Patients
Democrat, Republican Legislators Say Stopping Harmful Medi-Cal Cuts Must Be Top Priority WhenLegislature Reconvenes After Summer Recess
In a strong display of bipartisan agreement, Assemblymember Luis Alejo (D-Salinas)and Senator Jim Nielsen (R-Gerber) said today that restoring Medi-
Cal funding for California’s most
vulnerable patients must be a priority when the Legislature returns this month.
“The message to our colleagues should be –
we have ‘unfinished business’,” Alejo said.
unanimously passed Assembly Bill 900 to reverse these cuts. When the Senate returns this month weare confident our colleagues will also vote for this legislation. Republicans and Democrats are united onthis solution and we need to tell the Governor that without his support the elderly, frail and vulnerablepatients at hospital-based skilled-nursing facilities throughout California will be left without access to
the vital health care they need. This is inhumane and we must do better.”
Alejo was referring to the crisis facing California’s skilled nursing facilities.
In the last five years,approximately 40 hospital-based skilled nursing facilities in California (about one-third) have closed dueto financial pressures and many more find themselves at the brink of bankruptcy and closure. This is theresult of draconian Medi-Cal cuts that were implemented to deal with the budget crisis two years ago.Palomar Health Facility in San Diego County announced it will close its 96-bed distinct-part skillednursing facility in Escondido, and that it will no longer accept new admissions or transfers as of July 1,2013. In Fresno County, Coalinga Regional Hospital has said it will close its facility without immediaterelief.
Although California’s budget boasts a surplus this year, the Governor has not committed to
reverse those cuts an
d protect our society’s most vulnerable patients.“In many cases, these hospital
-based skilled-nursing facilities are the only point of access to health care,
especially in the rural areas I represent,” said Senator Nielsen, who represents many small ho
spitals inNorthern California.
“Unless we take action, these facilities are going to close.
That means patients willremain in the acute-care hospital longer, adding greater costs to the health care system than the dollars
’saved’ through the proposed cuts from two years ago. Nielsen added, “We must prioritize resources to
care for the elderly and poor who cannot afford medical attention. This bad policy has already impacted