Today, Reps. Anna G. Eshoo (CA-14) and Brian Bilbray (CA-50) introduced needed legislation to ensure that Medicaid providers are paid in an appropriate timeframe. This bipartisan legislation, the Fair Pay to Medicaid Providers Act, would require Medicaid to reimburse all providers, including nursing facilities, hospitals, and community health centers in a timely manner. Current law only requires prompt Medicaid payment to physicians.
"This is a common sense bill directed to patients," said Rep. Eshoo. "Our healthcare professionals and facilities deserve to be reimbursed in a predictable and consistent timeframe in order to provide optimal care to those in need. We must ensure that our communities' most vulnerable citizens do not face a disruption in healthcare services, and our bipartisan bill helps to make sure their care is not held up by red tape and bureaucracy."
"Delayed payment to Medicaid providers puts patients and employees at risk," said Rep. Bilbray. "Any delay of payment for care provided to patients can jeopardize facility operations and make it difficult to pay employees. This legislation guarantees that health care providers are paid in a timely manner so that they can focus on helping those in need without worrying about how they are going to meet their financial obligations."
Medicaid's payment delay to providers adversely affects their ability to provide quality care to some of our nation's most vulnerable citizens. Any delay of payment for care provided to patients significantly impedes cash flow. Such an interruption can jeopardize facility operations and make it difficult to pay staff.
The 2008 budget impasse in California placed providers at significant risk as they operated without Medicaid payment for approximately 60 days. Some providers were forced to take out loans on retirement accounts and mortgage their homes in order to raise enough cash to pay employees. Additionally, some nursing facilities notified residents' families that if buildings were forced to close, they would have to pick up their loved ones from the facility and take them elsewhere.
The Fair Pay to Medicaid Providers Act requires that states must pay 90% of Medicaid claims within 30 days of the date of receipt of the claims, and 99% of claims within 90 days of the date of receipt.