CHA News Article

California’s Drug Medi-Cal Waiver Approved by Federal Government

The California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) announced last week that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has approved the state’s Drug Medi-Cal Organized Delivery System (DMC-ODS) waiver amendment to California’s current section 1115 demonstration project, authorizing the state to implement a new substance use disorder benefit and delivery system. According to DHCS, the waiver gives the state flexibility to establish a continuum of care to help ensure services and treatment are delivered in the right place at the right time and in the right setting for each Medi-Cal member’s needs. Delivering services through a continuum of care and an integrated system of treatment also helps guide and track the progress of patients. California is the first state in the nation to receive federal approval of an ODS waiver. 

Initially, counties will have the choice of opting into the waiver in a phased regional approach. Fifty-three of California’s 58 counties have indicated an interest in participating. The counties that opt in will administer the DMC-ODS waiver program locally, providing and arranging for substance use disorder treatment for Medi-Cal beneficiaries. The DMC-ODS demonstration waiver is effective for five years. The waiver standard terms and conditions are attached. More information is available on the DHCS website.

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