CHA News Article

CHA Testifies on Barriers in Access to Care for Medi-Cal Patients

CHA participated on a panel addressing the barriers that prevent access to care for Medi-Cal beneficiaries during yesterday’s Senate Budget Subcommittee on Health hearing. Other panelists included representatives from the California Medical Association, California Primary Care Association, California Dental Association and UC Health. Amber Kemp, CHA vice president, health care coverage, testified on CHA’s behalf and discussed the following:

  • The Medi-Cal expansion and reduced payments to primary care physicians enacted during the economic downturn are driving increased demand for hospital services
  • Medi-Cal members often seek preventive and other non-urgent care in hospital emergency rooms when they do not have access to primary care providers or specialists
  • Many Medi-Cal patients still lack appropriate access to mental health and substance use disorder treatment services, although the Affordable Care Act expanded coverage for these services
  • Many hospitals face significant difficulty securing needed post-acute care for Medi-Cal patients

Kemp testified to the importance of the Hospital Fee Program and Medi-Cal 2020 waiver, and shared that — despite massive underfunding of government programs, significant administrative hurdles and cost pressures — California’s hospitals are among the most innovative in the country, providing quality care to those in need, with per capita costs below the national average. Kemp emphasized that California must take measures to ensure payment rates adequately address the changing nature of health care delivery, and support those changes by recognizing the costs and burdens associated with asking providers to do more with less.