LOS ANGELES – L.A. Care Health Plan, the nation’s largest publicly-operated health plan, announced today that it is moving to accelerate claims payments and provide other financial support to many providers in its provider network to help address the financial pressure caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. L.A. Care’s provider network includes in part the safety net providers, clinics and hospitals that serve the most vulnerable in Los Angeles County.
“These providers, clinics, and hospitals are heroically serving our members, and we are here to support them,” said John Baackes, L.A. Care CEO. “Over the coming weeks, we will provide up to $85 million in accelerated claims payments to hospitals, and more than $21 million in advanced incentive payments to individual primary care physicians and FQHC clinics.”
Many providers have seen a financial loss as medical appointments and elective procedures have been cancelled. At the same time, these providers have poured money into fighting the virus and to provide protective gear for staff.
"This emergency is having a significant negative financial impact on health centers due to increased costs of providing care, adapting to telehealth systems, and purchasing personal protective equipment (PPE) and other equipment needed to meet the demand. At the same time, health centers are experiencing a major revenue decline related to a reduction in routine medical visits,” said Al Ballesteros, President & CEO of JWCH Institute, Inc., a health center in the L.A. Care provider network. “These funds are coming at a crucial time as safety-net health centers are directly caring for substantial increases in patients testing positive for and those ill with COVID-19."
L.A. Care will be accelerating more than $7 million in grant payments to 138 clinics and community-based organizations. The health plan is also committing more than $6 million in targeted grant support for its most vulnerable members and communities, including some who are experiencing homelessness. The funding will provide:
• Up to 75 additional recuperative care beds for L.A. Care members
• Phones, tents, and hygiene kits for up to 1,000 individuals experiencing homelessness to support social distancing and to stay in touch with their providers
• Testing and telehealth support for members and other individuals in interim housing settings
• Legal aid for community members facing eviction
• Meal deliveries for up to 750 homebound members
• Grants for safety net clinics serving high-need populations in support of COVID-19 efforts
L.A. Care is grateful for every health care and social services provider that has been on the front lines of this war against COVID-19. The health plan will continue to work with community partners to find ways to support these courageous warriors.
*Headline was updated from 'Nearly $70 Million" to "Nearly $120 Million" on May 14, 2020 to reflect additional $50 million in accelerated payments to hospitals.