In a floor vote yesterday, the Assembly unanimously agreed to make podiatric services a Medi-Cal benefit.
Podiatry had been an optional Medi-Cal benefit until 2009 when it was cut because of budget constraints along with a number of other services, including optometry and adult dental services. Some of those services, including podiatry, were reinstated at rural clinics and rural federally qualified health centers after a court challenge, but most areas of California are not allowed to provide podiatry as a Medi-Cal benefit.
That would change if AB 1868 by Assembly member Jimmy Gomez (D-Los Angeles) becomes law.
“This bill would reinstate full foot and ankle care by podiatrists in the Medi-Cal system,” Gomez said on the Assembly floor yesterday. “Eliminating podiatric services from Medi-Cal has further exacerbated an already dire access problem for low-income and disabled communities.”
Podiatric problems are a particular concern for those with advanced diabetes, a chronic disease that affects low-income and Latino communities particularly hard, Gomez said.
“This bill provides medical access for our most vulnerable communities,” he said.
AB 1868 was approved on a 66-0 vote and now heads to the Senate.