Newborns Enrolled in Gateway Program Dropped From Medi-Cal
Newborns whose mothers are Medi-Calwithin two months or less because their providers mistakenly enrolled them in a program called "Gateway," the Los Angeles Times reports. Gateway is intended to expand health coverage to uninsured children in the state, but the program does not provide health insurance to children who receive coverage under Medi-Cal. Some newborns are losing Medi-Cal coverage in part because Gateway's computer enrollment system does not communicate with the Medi-Cal computer system to cross reference eligibility requirements. To address the problem, the state must allow the Gateway computer system to communicate with the Medi-Cal system. After attorneys for children and women who have been denied care filed suit against the state in July, a San Francisco Superior Court Judge in September ordered Department of Health Services to revise its computer system by April 1 and to reinstate Medi-Cal coverage to the infants who had lost it under Gateway. DHS appealed the ruling and requested that the deadline to implement changes to its computer system be extended to July 1. DHS spokesperson Lea Brooks said that the fiscal year 2003-2004 state budget, which was approved in August, included $357,000 for DHS to make the corrections. Celia Valdez of Maternal and Child Health Access said the enrollment problem has been exacerbated by communication problems between parents and providers. Valdez noted that some parents have not understood that the Gateway program was temporary and that providers have not adequately explained the program because providers of language barriers and other issues (Buchanan, Los Angeles Times, 2/23).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.