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Central Valley | Health, Housing, and Public Services

Indigent health care ending?
by Dan Waterhouse, Newslink Fresno
Sunday Dec 22nd, 2013 6:51 AM
Fresno County's indigent medical care program may be shut down in 2014.
As 2013 draws to a close, a Fresno County health department representative hinted the county's Medical Indigent Service Program (MISP) would likely be shut down early in 2014.

Several factors play into this:

With the advent of the Accordable Care Act (ACA), a majority of MISP clients have been shifted to MediCal, leaving primarily undocumented people, inmates and those who don't meet the new MediCal requirements in the program.

Due to Fresno County's "unique" contract with Community Hospital, state health realignment funds could take as much as a 60% cut, leaving the county with few choices. The health department would essentially have to be shut down in order to fund MISP.

Community Hospital maintains it costs the hospital four to five times the current contract fee to provide indigent care. The hospital has told the county it will not extend the current contract (which reportedly ends next year) and wants to be reimbursed the actual cost of care. That means that the county would have to find tens of millions of dollars.

Supervisor Henry Perea suggested the county might be able to find another provider. That would likely mean that the long-shuttered University Medical Center would reopen. Friends recently said there's been activity at the UMC buildings; workers reportedly upgrading wiring and plumbing.