85 days overdue, the California State budget finally received support by the legislature and the Governor today. That means our local hospitals, pharmacies and nursing homes will finally received MediCal payments.
Governor Schwarzenegger was expected to issue line-item vetoes to trim millions from the final spending plan of $143 billion. In fact, the budget remains largely out of balance. Even though it boasts a hefty reserve fund. Next June, voters will decide on measures to borrow as much as $10 billion from future lottery revenue to help stabilize the budget.
The budget does include over $7 billion in spending cuts which some say will mean deep cuts to health care programs.
The budget delay did damage to health care facilities in Inyo and Mono. 75% of Southern Inyo Hospital’s revenue comes from MediCal money. The budget delay forced the hospital to stop paying vendors and cut back payments to doctors and others. Administrator Lee Barron called it a “crisis.”
While the suspense is over, Barron had said it would take at least 10 days for the MediCal money to make it to the hospital.
Northern Inyo Hospital in Bishop awaits MediCal revenue. Administrator John Halfen had put a freeze on capital expenditures until budget approval.
At Mammoth Hospital, Administrator Gary Boyd said Medical money makes up around 15% of the revenue. He was watching developments closely.
Bishop Care Center, a local nursing home, provided care in the face of a 70% revenue loss while the legislature delayed the budget. Those funds will now be restored.
Other state agencies and businesses that rely on state dollars will breath at least a temporary sigh of relief until more trouble hits later.