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Local News

State Withholding Medi-Cal Payments from Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics

They won't get reimbursed for care until sometime in September

Medi-Cal reimbursements from the state are being withheld from many California health-care facilities, including Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics, until a budget is passed.

Until sometime in September, the Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics won’t get reimbursed for the care they give to Medi-Cal patients, Deputy Director Bonnie Campbell said.

She estimates that amount will be in the $700,000 range. The state contacts the clinics via e-mail to let them know which months they’re withholding, and only a few weeks in July were paid since July 1.

“Yes, we have lines of credit,” she said, “but it just sinks us lower.”

The Neighborhood Clinics accept Medi-Cal and Medicare patients as well as the uninsured and self-pays, but reimbursements are chronically less than the cost to provide services. Getting by with their credit accrues interest and is worse for the clinics’ finances, she said. For the cost of $154 per visit, the average reimbursement is $62.

Patient visits have increased in 2010 to 100 more new patients a month than last year, which Campbell credits to more people out of work and losing health insurance. Philanthropic giving is also down, as many foundations who consistently give grants to the clinics have not done so recently, she said.

Click here for a full list of facilities from which the state is withholding payments.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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