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Cuts Threaten Hospital-based Skilled Nursing Facilities in California


The San Diego Union-Tribune
By Paul Sisson

Two local health systems are pushing to reverse a looming state budget cut that they say threatens their ability to provide 288 skilled nursing beds in San Diego County.

Palomar Health and Sharp HealthCare are backing a bill (AB900), introduced in the Assembly Wednesday, that would prevent a funding cut in Gov. Jerry Brown’s budget for skilled nursing facilities operated by hospitals.

The cut, proponents of the bill say, would result in 25 to 40 percent less funding for skilled nursing patients on Medi-Cal, the state’s insurance of last resort for low-income families, seniors and people with disabilities.

Sharp and Palomar are the only two health systems in San Diego County that operate skilled nursing homes as part of their larger integrated health systems.

Skilled nursing facilities provide care 24 hours a day to their residents and are licensed and inspected by the California Department of Public Health.

Steve Gold, chief officer for post acute care at Palomar, said his organization stands to lose $6 million if the budget cut goes through. He said that would force the inland North County health operator to examine whether it can continue operating 193 of 225 beds at its two skilled nursing facilities, in Escondido and Poway. He said Palomar already loses money on the Medi-Cal nursing patients it sees.

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