Advocates Push for Access to Care for Medi-Cal Beneficiaries
Health care advocates in California are urging the state to ensure that Medi-Cal beneficiaries have adequate access to care amid a deluge of new enrollees under the Affordable Care Act, Capital Public Radio's "KXJZ News" reports.
Medi-Cal is California's Medicaid program (Bartolone, "KXJZ News," Capital Public Radio, 4/21).
About two million additional California residents enrolled in Medi-Cal between October 2013 and mid-April this year and about 800,000 more applications are pending, according to Orange County Register/Kaiser Health News.
Norman Williams -- a spokesperson for the California Department of Health Care Services -- noted several factors that have slowed the application process, including:
- Duplicate or incomplete applications;
- Income verification requirements; and
- The volume of applications.
Williams said, "We are working very quickly and very diligently to get these people into coverage."
Details of Delayed Access to Care
Hospitals are required to treat patients with emergency health needs, but providers can decline to provide non-emergency health care for patients who are awaiting Medi-Cal approval, according to the Register/KHN.
Catherine Teare, senior program officer at the California HealthCare Foundation, said, "If they don't have final determination of their eligibility, they are probably not able to get care" (Gorman, Orange County Register/Kaiser Health News, 4/21). CHCF publishes California Healthline.
Anthony Wright, with Health Access California, maintained that most Medi-Cal beneficiaries are satisfied with their care. However, Wright added that the state must remain "vigilant" to make sure health care access through Medi-Cal remains adequate.
Wright said, "The requirement is not that every patient gets to see every doctor but that every patient gets to see a doctor that they need, the place that they need, within the time that they need it" ("KXJZ News," Capital Public Radio, 4/21).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.