SACRAMENTO -- Assemblyman Brian Dahle, R-Bieber, today announced that the Legislature passed a health care financing plan that will allow six rural skilled nursing facilities in Assembly District 1 to keep their doors open.
“I am proud to support a plan that will save important health centers in our region,” Dahle said. “This plan will allow elderly residents and those needing specialized care to stay comfortably in the facilities they call home, rather than being relocated miles away.”
In 2011, the state budget cut Medi-Cal reimbursement rates. Eastern Plumas Health Care, in Plumas; Mayers Memorial Hospital in Fall River; Modoc Memorial Hospital in Alturas; Seneca Healthcare District in Chester; Surprise Valley Community Hospital in Cedarville; and Tahoe Forest Hospital in Truckee were faced with a 25 percent reimbursement rate reduction. This threatened the viability of both the skilled nursing facilities and the connected hospitals.
The agreement passed by the Legislature restores Medi-Cal reimbursement cuts made between 2011 and 2013, bringing back $12 million to rural hospitals in the 1st Assembly District and allowing rural skilled nursing facilities and hospitals throughout the state to keep their doors open.
“Without the skilled nursing facility at Mayers Memorial Hospital District, patients like Mary Bickel and Beulah Spalding who have deep family roots and have lived in the Fall River Valley for many years would have to move more than 100 miles away from their family and friends.” said Valerie L. Lakey, Director of Public Relations at Mayers Memorial Hospital District. “This agreement will ensure that we are able to continue caring for our residents like Mary and Beulah in their communities, close to their families.”
Statements from local health care facilities on the financing plan:
“Skilled Nursing Facilities like Mayers’ have been struggling for years to keep the lights on while absorbing retroactive budget cuts. MMHD is a small rural facility that has a service area of over 8000 square miles. We are one of Northeastern Shasta County’s largest employers, with over 250 employees. We have 76 skilled nursing patients, including 22 in our Alzheimer’s unit, that reside in our skilled nursing facility. If we were not an option, these residents would be relocated over 100 miles away from family and friends. The viability of our entire facility would be in question without our skilled nursing facility.” Valerie Lakey, Director of Public Relations, Mayers Memorial Hospital District
“This clawback amount may seem insignificant to those accustomed to larger, city hospitals,” said Eastern Plumas Health Care’s CEO, Tom Hayes. "As a safety net hospital in a severely economically depressed rural area, however, it is our mission to be here when our community members need us. Yet, we are constantly struggling to remain afloat, and the amount of the clawback becomes a survival issue for this hospital. We are consistently cash strapped, and if we manage to pay the required amount each month, it means we don’t pay for essential infrastructure repairs and upgrades, among other things that a larger hospital, a larger community would take for granted." - Thomas P. Hayes, CEO, Eastern Plumas Health Care
"We have estimated that the financial impact of the clawback to Modoc Medical Center will be around $531,000. As a small, rural facility this money represents a significant amount of resources that could be utilized to ensure the continued provision of healthcare in our small rural community. We have neighboring facilities that struggle to survive financially. For some facilities the clawback may represent a real threat to their survival and could create a huge gap in the network of providers that we all rely on to care for our most vulnerable populations in our state." - Kevin Kramer, CEO, Modoc Medical Center
“Eastern Plumas Health Care is one of two Skilled Nursing Facilities in Plumas county and the only one in Sierra County. We provide access to residential care for the communities we serve, keeping those in need close to their families and support groups. We cannot continue to fund the deficits that occur when rates are cut back to amounts below our cost to provide services.” - Jeri Nelson, CFO, Eastern Plumas Healthcare District
Assemblyman Brian Dahle, R-Bieber, represents the 1st Assembly District in the California Legislature, which includes all or parts of Butte, Lassen, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Shasta, Sierra and Siskiyou counties.