CHA News Article

DHCS Fact Sheets Focus on Health Disparities in the Medi-Cal Population

The California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) has produced a series of one-page fact sheets titled Health Disparities in the Medi-Cal Population. The fact sheets provide a snapshot of the health of Medi-Cal members from various backgrounds compared to the overall state population, allowing health organizations, government officials, policymakers and advocates to better understand possible disparities. DHCS elected to use the 39 health indicators presented in the California Health and Human Services Agency’s Let’s Get Healthy California Task Force Final Report as a starting point for the fact sheets.

Topics highlighted in the fact sheets include infant mortality, child vaccination, adverse childhood experiences, emergency department visits, physical activity, consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages, obesity, health status, hypertension, depression, palliative care, preventable hospitalizations, hospital readmissions, hospital-acquired conditions, neighborhood safety and colon cancer screening. In the future, DHCS plans to examine additional topics, such as smoking among adolescents and adults, nonfatal child maltreatment, diabetes prevalence and hospice enrollment. In addition, other social strata and groups will be explored.

The Department’s focus on disparities is significant given that its programs, including Medi-Cal, serve nearly 9.2 million Californians, making it the largest health care purchaser in the state. One in five Californians receives health care services financed or organized by DHCS, and total enrollment is expected to reach nearly 10 million by the end of 2014.