Medi-Cal

About Medi-Cal

Every year, California’s hospitals treat millions of patients, many of them covered by Medi-Cal, the state’s health care safety net. This includes numerous essential health care services, including care for more than 50% of all births, 51% of behavioral health-related emergency department visits, and 49% of rural hospital patient care But for low-income Californians who rely on Medi-Cal for coverage — two-thirds of whom are people of color — their care is at serious risk. Communities with high Medi-Cal enrollment already suffer from a severe lack of health care providers and with hospital services at risk of being reduced and outright closures looming, California’s most vulnerable, including people living in rural and underserved areas, are in jeopardy.

DHCS Provides Health Homes Program Update

The Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) has released an update on the Health Homes Program, including current and future implementation counties, and counties where the program will not be implemented.

CHA Comments on CMS’ Proposed Managed Care Rule

CHA submitted the attached comment letter responding to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) proposed rule that would change managed care regulations for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). While most of the rule’s proposals are technical adjustments or changes that have little impact on the Medi-Cal managed care program, some could impact the managed care portion of the Hospital Fee Program.

FFY 2019 Uncompensated Care Payments to Come From 2014, 2015 Worksheet S-10 Data

In the federal fiscal year (FFY) 2019 inpatient prospective payment system final rule, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) finalized its second year of a three-year transition to use Worksheet S-10 data for distributing Medicare disproportionate share hospital (DSH) uncompensated care payments. CMS will use two years (FFYs 2014 and 2015) of Worksheet S-10 cost report data and one year of proxy data to distribute the uncompensated care payments for FFY 2019.

In response to comments from CHA, CMS noted in the final rule that it planned audits of the data in fall 2018. In late August, CMS began audits of selected hospitals’ FFY 2015 cost reports. A number of hospitals in California have received this data request, and must respond by Sept. 28.  

Because CMS has given the Medicare administrative contractors (MACs) only until the end of January to complete the audits, providers have a short timeline to complete this work with their MACs. Though CHA acknowledges that this presents a challenge from both technical and resource perspectives, CHA highly encourages hospitals that have received a request to respond as quickly as possible. Early communication with Noridian (or its subcontractor, Figliozzi & Company) is critical under this short timeline. A copy of the letter Noridian sent to select providers requesting documentation is attached; these letters are consistent across all MACs.

CHA Submits Joint Letter on Medicaid Access to Care Monitoring Requirements

The California Hospital Association, the California Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems, Private Essential Access Community Hospitals, Inc., the California Children’s Hospital Association and the District Hospital Leadership Forum have submitted the attached joint letter on the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) proposed rule on fee-for-service access to care monitoring requirements within the Medicaid program. The proposed rule would amend the process by which states document whether Medicaid payments in fee-for-service (FFS) systems are sufficient to enlist providers to assure beneficiary access to covered care and services consistent with existing statute.

In the letter, the organizations oppose an exemption from the FFS access standards, regardless of the managed care penetration rate, as it eliminates safeguards that promote a more transparent data-driven process. The letter also outlines concerns with proposals related to an exemption for states with high managed care enrollment, exemptions for nominal rate reductions, relief from public notice of rate reductions and the need for greater CMS oversight of state Medicaid programs.

Comments on the proposed rule are due by 2 p.m. (PT) on May 22.