by Heather Foster
After years of slow Medicaid payments to providers, two California Representatives—Rep. Brian Bilbray (R) and Rep. Anna Eshoo (D)—introduced legislation that would require that all providers, including health centers, be paid in a timely manner. Current law requires that many providers be reimbursed for 90% of services within 30 days of receiving claims and 99% of services within 90 days. While this protection applies to health care practitioners practicing in individual or group practices and shared health facilities, it does not apply to health centers, despite their having a disproportionate number of patients insured through Medicaid. H.R. 3587, the Fair Pay to Medicaid Providers Act would extend these protections to all providers—including hospitals, nursing homes, and health centers.
As many of you are all-too-aware, withholding or delaying Medicaid payments undermines health centers’ financial stability given their high volume of Medicaid patients and relatively small cash-flow as compared to many larger providers. Extending the same payment protections that currently apply to other Medicaid providers to health centers is a commonsense, fair, and no‐cost change to existing law.
We will continue to keep you apprised of any developments with this legislation and any efforts to pass it on Capitol Hill. Similarly, please keep us posted if you have had trouble receiving timely Medicaid payments in your state. Please email Heather Foster at firstname.lastname@example.org with any examples of delayed payments so that we can be sure to give legislators on Capitol Hill the most accurate information on the impact this would have for health centers. Thank you!