CHA News Article

DHCS Releases 2013-17 Strategic Plan
Defines priorities, methods for meeting ACA challenges

The California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) has released its 2013-17 Strategic Plan, defining priorities and the methods it will use to meet the challenges associated with the impending launch of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and expansion of Medi-Cal. DHCS programs serve more than 8.5 million Californians, a number that will approach 10 million with the full implementation of the ACA. DHCS invests approximately $70 billion in public funds to provide low-income Californians with access to affordable, high-quality health care, including medical, dental, mental health, substance use disorder services and long-term services and supports, making it the largest health care purchaser in the state. 

DHCS has included in the strategic plan its commitments to consumers, the public and employees, and defines broadly how each commitment will be achieved (strategies), as well as the specific initiatives necessary to achieve each strategy (actions). DHCS commitments to consumers and the public are outlined below. The complete strategic plan can be reviewed on the DHCS website.

Commitment to consumers
DHCS will:

  • Improve the consumer experience so individuals can easily access high quality health care when they need it, where they need it, at all stages of life. Strategies include: improve the enrollment experience, enhance outreach and education, and provide efficient and effective customer service. Examples of actions include: streamline eligibility and health plan enrollment, and monitor eligibility and access.
  • Treat the whole person by coordinating and integrating medical, dental, mental health, substance use treatment services and long-term care. Strategies include: support integrated linkages between systems of care. Examples of actions include: ensure every member has a medical home; strengthen electronic health record use, content, and system integration.
  • Improve and maintain health and well-being through effective prevention and intervention. Strategies include: address quality, population health and outcomes across systems of care; identify and eliminate disparities in health outcomes; and base clinical policies on principles of effectiveness and value. Examples of actions include: foster the use of evidence-based medicine throughout the care delivery system, including medical, dental, mental health, substance use treatment services, and long-term care; and advance the use of methods, such as value-based purchasing, which take into account effectiveness and cost.
  • Develop an effective, efficient, and sustainable health care delivery system. Strategies include: design delivery and payment strategies to drive improved quality and outcomes; through effective oversight, ensure program integrity and compliance. Examples of actions include: adopt and utilize evidence-based health care policies and utilization management criteria, and provide incentives and disincentives to improve quality of care.

Commitment to the public
DHCS will:

  • Ensure there is a viable health care safety net for people when they need it. Strategies include: continuously measure access and address sufficiency of providers; and manage financing to support an adequate network of safety net providers. Examples of actions include: make it easier for providers to participate in Medi-Cal, ensure reimbursement and payment policies consider needs of providers serving underserved populations, and maximize federal funding.
  • Maintain effective, open communication and engagement with the public, our partners and other stakeholders. Hold ourselves and our providers, plans and partners accountable for performance. Strategies include: engage and communicate effectively with stakeholders; and make information readily available to people who need it. Examples of actions include: implement processes to better manage stakeholder communication and message coordination, in advance, and during our initiatives; and improve communication with stakeholders, including through various technologies and other outreach formats.
  • Hold ourselves and our providers, plans and partners accountable for performance. Strategies include: use metrics tied to performance for providers, health plans and partners; and hold ourselves accountable to our core values, professional standards and commitments. Examples of actions include: use metrics tied to payment to drive value and quality; and report publicly on our performance as a Department.
  • Be prudent, responsible fiscal stewards of public resources. Strategies include: leverage our role to drive improvements in quality and efficiency of a broader health care system; through effective oversight, ensure program integrity and compliance. Examples of actions include: implement payment structures that support efficient health care delivery systems, and ensure that our policies and procedures support provider efficiency.

DHCS will periodically review and update the strategic plan based on the changing health care environment. DHCS indicates that comments and feedback on the strategic plan will be taken into consideration as it moves forward with implementation. Comments may be directly submitted to