Emergency funds on the way to California Clinics that help poor
Last month, California State Treasurer John Chiang announced plans to set aside grants totaling $20 million for community clinics that serve low-income and vulnerable Californians. The money is mainly for small or rural nonprofit clinics that would be at risk of reducing services or closing if large cutbacks to Medi-Cal are made. According to the treasurer’s office, California has 1,237 licensed community clinics, which serve 30 percent of the state’s 14 million Medi-Cal beneficiaries. Cathy Frey, CEO of the Central Valley Health Network, stated:
Health centers are basically the back bone of the Medicaid program. If they go away, the system is pretty much kaput.
The one-time grants will come from an infrastructure fund for hospitals and clinics that is operated by the treasurer’s office. Marc Lifsher, Chiang’s spokesman, stated that the grants for California clinics would be up to $250,000 apiece. According to Lifsher, the grants would be just enough to keep at risk clinics open and give them some breathing room while they figure things out. The grants are in anticipation of the American Health Care Act (ACA), which would reduce federal spending on Medicaid. Even if the ACA is not passed, it is still possible for the federal government to cut back on funding for health related services, so it is hard to tell if Chiang’s plans will be used or needed.