CA hospitals wary of state budget plan to shift emergency funds

The Los Angeles Times, March 21, 2011
California emergency room doctors are fighting to preserve a state fund that compensates them for treating poor, uninsured patients at private hospitals — money that lawmakers want to shift to the federal insurance program in order to help bridge the budget gap. But doctors say the shift would still leave millions uninsured for the next several years, raising questions about who will pick up the tab at already strained emergency rooms. "We can't deny care to anybody. The hospitals that are barely making it through, this is going to make it unsustainable," said Arturo Pelayo, MD, an emergency physician at St. Francis Medical Center in Lynwood, where up to 20% of the nearly 70,000 emergency patients they see each year are covered by the Emergency Medical Services, or "Maddy," fund.

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