More Healthy Families Feedback Sought

by Angela Hart, California Healthline Contributing Reporter

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The state has had difficulty getting input from families involved in this year's transition of 860,000 Healthy Families beneficiaries into Medi-Cal managed care plans. Only 11% of those contacted in the most recent survey responded to the state's questions, officials reported Wednesday.

Results of a beneficiary survey were released at the monthly meeting of the Managed Risk Medical Insurance Board, which oversees Healthy Families. State officials called 5,000 Healthy Families households to ask about the transition. Only 568 of them -- about 11% -- responded.

"One of the pieces of the puzzle is getting more people engaged," said Rene Mollow, deputy director of health care benefits and eligibility for the Department of Health Care Services, which is overseeing the shift to Medi-Cal.

More than 700,000 low-income children and their families have made the switch to Medi-Cal managed care plans since the phased transition started in January. Roughly 146,000 children still remain in the Healthy Families program, according to MRMIB officials.

Of the children moved into Medi-Cal so far, the majority of them have been able to keep their current health plan and their primary care physician, according to Terresa Krum, chief deputy director of MRMIB. Those two factors have been cited as a marker of maintaining continuity of care and a vital concern for patients and advocates.

In the DHCS survey, Krum pointed out, just half of the people who transitioned sought care under new Medi-Cal plans. That could mean they haven't sought care because they haven't needed it -- or it could signal a deeper confusion about the transition to a new Medi-Cal plan, she said.

Given the low rate of response, though, there's no way to know, she said.

"There is some concern about this being a statistically insignificant number upon which to draw conclusion," Krum said.

Mollow said DHCS has expanded call hours in recent months to reach more people when they're home, so the department can use better information to evaluate problems and successes.

Carol Frandsen
Well here goes. My daughter lost everything: PCP, spine specialist, dermatologist for severe acne--all at the UCD Med Center who REFUSED to allow the HF patients to stay. UCD should be investigated and reprimanded for ethical violations. They disgust me. Its my understanding all the other medical facilities let the kids stay, even Kaiser. I filed complaints, grievances, contacted all the so called child advocacy group, Steinbergs office, and none, I repeat none, ever got back to me. HealthNet tried to help but they could not change UCDs mind. All my daughters records(she has been at UCD since birth--13 years) have to be transferred. I haven't done anything yet because I am sick of it. Why does everyone care now? HF was a good program. The state should have asked us BEFORE for our input. I have would been willing to pay a little more. I am sure others would have too. Lets face it, like the state didnt give a ..... about these kids.
Alice Mayall
Let's see, am I satisfied with the Healthy Families transition? My son lost services for autism spectrum disorder with no notification. There has been no obvious system for voicing complaints or obtaining answers from DHCS. DHCS apparently directed health plans not to disclose to patients or providers that there would be a loss of coverage for autistic spectrum disorders, resulting in patient abandonment, a basic ethical/legal violation. And to top it off, my son's MediCal for Families coverage was terminated on 7/1/13, the same day we had a state fair hearing to discuss the above concerns, while his twin sister's coverage remained unchanged. So, no, I am not satisfied with the transition. The simplistic survey that is being generated by DHCS does not begin to tap into the types of concerns that families are experiencing. http://www.dhcs.ca.gov/services/hf/Pages/Benefi...

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