Assembly Bill 97

Letters to the Editor - 1/30/14 edition

January 28, 2014 

Dear Editor,

In 2011 Assembly Bill 97 was passed that imposed a rate decrease on public hospitals that had a distinct part skilled nursing unit. This bill lowered the amount we would have been paid for our long term care unit known as the Ewing Wing to the rates we were paid in 2008, a severe rate reduction. At the time this would have caused additional financial problems for our hospital here in Mariposa. This law was effectively challenged and was not put into effect. The State continued to pay current rates including rate increases over the next two years.

During the past year John C. Fremont Healthcare District has had some bad financial news when the State announced the rate decrease for our long term care unit was going to be put into effect. For this little hospital in Mariposa, we will have to repay the State and Federal governments $1,200,000 and pay it back at approximately $60,000 per month. This is something that we can not afford and will have extreme consequences if we are required to re-pay this amount.

Two weeks ago the Federal government, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, sent word that they were willing to forego their $600,000 portion of the rate decrease, if the State of California would forego their $600,000. With word coming out of Sacramento that the State is enjoying unanticipated surpluses, many of us here in Mariposa hoped that the State would not enforce the collection of this $1,200,000. Last week, word leaked that the State would continue to seek collection of these funds. I am asking that Governor Jerry Brown and the State legislature please reconsider this decision. The majority of hospitals affected are small rural hospitals that serve some of the most healthcare vulnerable people in the state. Having to repay this $1,200,000 debt to the State and Federal government will greatly jeopardize the financial stability of these rural facilities and make it difficult to continue providing this care.

Alan MacPhee, Chief Executive Officer, John C. Fremont Healthcare District, Mariposa

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