This week, Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed a bill to shorten the amount of time to process applications for primary care community clinics that want to serve Medi-Cal patients.
AB 2051 by Assembly member Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) will give the state Department of Health Care Services 30 days to certify community clinics providing Medi-Cal service, rather than the current open-ended deadline that Gonzalez said has sometimes exceeded 180 days.
“When you spend time and money building a community clinic and you get it all built and ready to go, it’s pointless if you then can’t see any Medi-Cal patients,” Gonzalez said. “You put a lot of money into building a facility, the timeline needs to be shorter for approving Medi-Cal participation.”
Gonzalez said it has been a problem not only for community clinics, but also for some Planned Parenthood clinics, she said.
“Especially with a district like mine where we have so many Medi-Cal patients who need services,” Gonzalez said.
Waiting for certification also can cause a financial strain on community clinics, she added.
“I appreciate working with the Department of Health Care Services, together we found something that works,” Gonzalez said. “In order to ensure certification, we needed a deadline, so now this could actually work. Not just to get people up and running, not just because it’s quicker. But also there’s just more certainty involved.”
Department officials said they are fully on-board with what the law wants to accomplish.
“DHCS supports the policy goal of AB 2051,” said Anthony Cava, public affairs officer at DHCS. “Enrolling the affiliate primary care clinics into Medi-Cal … within 30 days will help new providers begin offering these vital health care services more quickly.”