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Medi-Cal reimbursement rate cut tentatively blocked by court


SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California state officials tentatively are blocked from moving forward with a 10% Medi-Cal reimbursement rate cut.

The court decision, handed down by Judge Christina Snyder, was applauded by several organizations, including the California Medical Association, the California Dental Association, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, the California Association of Medical Product Suppliers, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation and the American Medical Response.

The groups — which filed a lawsuit against the California Department of Health Care Services and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in November 2011 after the federal government approved the reimbursement cut — said the California Medi-Cal rates already are extremely low and many prescription medications are reimbursed at breakeven rates, which means many providers cannot afford to participate.

"We commend the court's tentative ruling in favor of preserving and protecting patient care," NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson said. "Drastic cuts are not in the best interest of patient care or the state's finances. Community pharmacies help to reduce healthcare spending and improve patient health through pharmacy services including medication counseling, vaccinations, education and screenings as well as the utilization of generic medications. Jeopardizing patient access to community pharmacy would diminish health and increase the reliance on more costly forms of care."

A final order is expected to follow.

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