A UCLA Center for Health Policy Research study finds that California children experience more difficulties obtaining sub-specialized pediatric care than children in any other state. The study also finds disparities in access to such care related to factors such as geography, race and ethnicity. HealthyCal.
Rural communities in the state are struggling to attract young primary care physicians to replace retiring doctors in California, an expert says. Some observers say the Affordable Care Act could exacerbate the primary care physician shortage, while others say it could help attract doctors to such areas. HealthyCal.
A plan supported by some lawmakers would use $700 million in savings from the Medi-Cal expansion to offer health services to undocumented immigrants. State officials say Gov. Brown has not taken a public position on the plan. Sacramento Bee, AP/U-T San Diego.
On Tuesday, the Arkansas House voted 77-23 to approve a state health care budget bill that includes an alternate Medicaid expansion proposal that would shift eligible residents into a "private option" through the state's health insurance exchange. GOP governors across the U.S. are considering similar proposals to avoid expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. Reuters et al.
San Diego County-based Palomar Health and Sharp Healthcare have announced their support for a bill that would stop a retroactive cut to Medi-Cal reimbursements for hospital-based skilled nursing services. Sharp and Palomar are the only two health systems in the county that operate skilled nursing homes. U-T San Diego.
In a Politico opinion piece, former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist argues that a state's "decision not to expand Medicaid leaves glaring inequities in coverage that [the Affordable Care Act] was intended to eliminate." He concludes that "if the Obama administration wants to entice more states into broadening coverage, it needs to accept that premium assistance will continue to be a growing segment of the Medicaid program." Politico.
In a Sacramento Bee opinion piece, Assembly Speaker John Pérez stumps for a bill would "develop a more comprehensive language assistance program by seeking additional federal funding for medical interpreter services through the Medi-Cal program." He argues, "Having more trained and professional interpreters through the Medi-Cal system will save lives of Californians with limited English proficiency" and will reduce "costs to the state." Sacramento Bee.
A new bill in the Assembly would fine large employers that do not pay their workers enough to keep them off Medi-Cal. Funds raised from the penalty would go toward boosting Medi-Cal reimbursements and subsidizing state costs for the program. Sacramento Bee.
Yesterday, lawmakers, hospitals and labor unions held a rally to stump for a bill that would exempt hospital-based skilled nursing facilities from a retroactive 10% cut to Medi-Cal reimbursements. Sacramento Business Journal, Capital Public Radio's "KXJZ News."
Some children with autism who have transitioned from Healthy Families to Medi-Cal have lost access to certain behavioral health services, according to a children's health advocate. A state law requiring insurers to cover such services exempts Medi-Cal. Sacramento Business Journal.
Thousands of beneficiaries could lose their Medicaid coverage as states' experimental versions of the program expire. Meanwhile, many former prisoners will be eligible for coverage under the Affordable Care Act's Medicaid expansion. Washington Post, Stateline/Kaiser Health News.
In California, dental health advocates are calling on school districts to offer dental health care services for low-income children. However, many school districts say they do not have the resources or time to maintain dental health programs. KQED's "State of Health."
HHS said that states would need a waiver from the agency to shift Medicaid-eligible residents into private insurance plans. Several states are considering such an approach as an alternative to participating in the Affordable Care Act's Medicaid expansion. The Hill's "Healthwatch" et al.
States and counties with restrictive Medicaid eligibility criteria tend to have the highest rates of individuals who delay necessary medical care because of cost, according to a letter to the editor published Thursday in the New England Journal of Medicine. In the letter, Brigham and Women's Hospital and the Harvard School of Public Health researchers noted that counties with the highest prevalence of delayed care are more likely to have higher Hispanic populations and a high prevalence of chronic diseases that are commonly associated with low-income communities. Kaiser Health News.
A bill that seeks to improve access to Medi-Cal interpreters in physician offices and hospitals and allow them to unionize has drawn support from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, which wants to represent the interpreters. Sacramento Bee.