Politics & Government

Calif. hospitals suffering because of budget battle

With the state budget at a standstill, hospitals are joining the ranks of people and businesses hurt by the deadlock.

The state has informed California hospitals that no further Medi-Cal payments will be sent to hospitals until a state budget is enacted. That means the bottom line of hospitals that take care of a large number of Medi-Cal patients, such as Mercy Medical Center Merced, could take a hit.

David Dunham, president of the hospital, said the emergency room is going to be affected along with clinics.

"We will continue to provide services whether we get paid or not," Dunham said, adding that because federal laws mandate that hospitals must treat anyone who comes in, hospitals are put into a unique situation. "We have to take care of everyone," he said. "We can't turn people away."

California has been without a budget since July 1, and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has chosen to cut Medi-Cal payments along with education dollars.

Read the complete story at mercedsunstar.com