Nearly 1/3rd of Californians receive health care through Medi-Cal, a state insurance program funded 45% by the state and 55% by the federal government. Medi-Cal provides health care for California’s most economically vulnerable residents.
But many Californians can’t get the care they need at home due to insufficient reimbursement rates for Medi-Cal, a problem that has grown more critical after two decades of lagging reimbursement increases.
The issue is most severe when it comes to private duty nurses who work shifts assigned to a disabled child or adult in their home.
Since 2018, the payment rate for nurses working in hospitals or other health care settings has gone up 32% and are up another 9% since COVID-19 created a nursing shortage last July.
At the same time, the reimbursement rate for private duty nursing through Medi-Cal has increased only once in the last 15 years, a 50% increase in 2017 that only temporarily helped the state stop the flow of nurses to other, higher paying areas.
Since 2017, business costs, insurance and pay requirements and other employment burdens have grown tremendously, while Medi-Cal funding has not grown at all.
This week, local advocates including At Home Nursing Care are meeting with state legislators and their aides to ask for an emergency 40% increase in funding for private duty Medi-Cal nursing. Organized by the California Association for Health Services at Home, or CAHSAH, the goal is to fund the program through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.
This much needed reimbursement increase can be funded entirely by the extra funding from the federal government that has been given to the state already.
Advocates are also asking for support of Assembly Bill 2069 (Villapudua), which would provide 1,000 scholarships of $1500 to people seeing to become home care aides of home health aides. This scholarship funding would address another area of concern, an adequate workforce in California to support the nearly 70% of people over the age of 65 who eventually need in home care.
At Home Nursing Care, Inc. is committed to providing care to our most fragile California residents and urges state legislators to take these steps to improve equity in health care delivery for our most vulnerable California residents.