Medi-Cal

Opinion: How to Ensure Medical Members Can Access Their Mental Health Benefits

Medi-Cal members might have mental health coverage in theory, but using it is a different story. People of color are less likely than white people to use mental health benefits, partially due to systemic inequities in the system. The same is true of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ+) youth.

Our communities care greatly about their mental health and the mental health of their loved ones, yet California’s promises to provide care fall short.

Analysis: Why California Needs an Oversight Office for Durable Medical Equipment

California’s system for providing durable medical equipment and supplies at home is complicated and difficult to manage, even in normal times. During the COVID-19 pandemic, rationing and supply chain disruptions have made things impossible for families of children with special health care needs.

I believe California needs a state oversight office for durable medical equipment to give families and patients a way to resolve problems before they cause harm.

Opinion: New Medi-Cal Rx Is Riddled With Problems, Hurting Those Who Need it Most

Despite warnings that the health of the state’s 14 million Medi-Cal beneficiaries would be threatened, on Jan. 1, California implemented Medi-Cal Rx, a program that stripped pharmacy benefits from health plans and handed them to a private, for-profit company.

Now, a month into the new program, there are reports that thousands of Medi-Cal patients have been left without their medications.

Opinion: Governor’s Veto Widens Health Disparities

Even as Governor Newsom’s administration is working to help Californians access care more easily through technology, it is preventing providers from connecting virtually to better meet the needs of Medi-Cal patients.

Gavin Newsom’s veto of SB 365 means doctors serving people insured under Medi-Cal won’t be reimbursed if they consult with a specialist online or over the phone to provide their patients better care.

Analysis: Why California Should Expand Health Coverage to Undocumented Seniors

While President Barack Obama’s 2010 health reform bill, the Affordable Care Act, greatly expanded insurance access, it excluded undocumented immigrants across the country. This likely contributed to COVID-19’s disproportionate impact on undocumented Californians. Health equity and immigrant rights advocates have been urging California leaders to broaden health coverage for nearly a decade.

As Need for Mental Health Care Surges, A Funding Program Remains Underused

The need for mental health services has surged during the COVID-19 pandemic, increasing pressure on California’s already beset mental health care system.

Yet one source of funding that could potentially help counties meet the demand for mental health care remains underused more than a year after the California Health Report first drew attention to the issue. The funding benefits the mental health care program that serves a third of Californians.

Opinion: Central Valley Residents, We Must Act Now to Save Lives

As chief medical officer of the largest public health plan in the Central Valley, serving 335,000 Medi-Cal patients, I am very worried about our vulnerable members.

We have to act now to flatten the infection curve and save lives, including those of our health care professionals. This is particularly crucial in this part of California. In the Central Valley, we have been battling a severe, long-time shortage of doctors and nurses.

New Screenings for Childhood Trauma Raise Hopes, Questions

California health officials are gearing up for the launch of a statewide screening effort that aims to help doctors measure children’s exposure to trauma and their risk of related health problems.

Starting Jan. 1, California will become the first state in the nation to reimburse health care providers who screen patients enrolled in the Medi-Cal program for “adverse childhood experiences” or ACEs.

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