San Diego County Board of Supervisors Address Medi-Cal Managed Care: Lask week, HASD&IC President & CEO Dimitrios Alexiou provided public comment (testimony starts at 4:08) in support of the Framework for the Future: Improving the County’s Wellness Care Delivery System to Address Health Disparities Exacerbated by the COVID-19 Pandemic and shared the HASD&IC Board of Directors guiding principles for new Medi-Cal managed care contracts. He emphasized the importance of using this opportunity to prioritize patients, strengthen local oversight, and increase accountability. HASD&IC will continue to engage with supervisors on the Medi-Cal managed care procurement process.
Imperial County Medi-Cal Managed Care: Similarly, in Imperial County, the Local Health Authority Commission continues to take steps toward its goal of adopting a single plan managed care model. Last week, the commission voted to recommend an uncodified ordinance to the Imperial County Board of Supervisors, adopting a single plan managed care model through an 1115 Waiver. The Department of Health Care Services requires counties to enact an ordinance to authorize the shift to a local plan model by October 2021.
Medical Baseline Program: In 2020, SDG&E waived the requirement for medical practitioners to certify a patient’s request to enroll in its Medical Baseline Program, which enables those who depend on power for certain medical conditions and independent living needs to lower energy rates and, most importantly, receive advance notice of public safety power shutoffs to their residence. However, this temporary waiver allowing customers to self-certify their eligibility to enroll ended on June 30, and a signature from a qualified medical practitioner is now required. Hospitals are encouraged to promote this program to patients who may be eligible and be prepared to have medical practitioners sign off on these requests. To assist hospitals, CHA — in partnership with PG&E, SDG&E, and Southern California Edison — has prepared an on-demand recording that explains more about the medical baseline programs and details the support and resources available from the utility companies. SDG&E partners with 2-1-1 San Diego to help consumers apply for the Medical Baseline program and to support patients during outages. Contact SDG&E’s Nhu Tran at Ntran3@sdge.com or (619) 676-9103 to learn more about the Medical Baseline Program.
Behavioral Health Hearings: The San Diego Superior Court has restored additional in-person access in the wake of updated state and local public health guidance that allows for the relaxing of certain COVID-19 safety protocols. This means that the court is returning to in-person hearings for all people in inpatient behavioral health units. The Public Defender’s Office shared there will be an option to request a video hearing for patients on a very limited basis if special circumstances exist.
State Budget Agreement: On June 28, state lawmakers approved a $262.6 billion spending plan. However, this is not the final budget, and budget activity will continue throughout the summer. Key health care components of the June agreement include:
- Medi-Cal: Expansion of Medi-Cal coverage to income-eligible adults ages 50 and older, regardless of immigration status. The new budget also removes the asset rule that restricted eligibility for older and disabled Californians.
- Telehealth:Current Medi-Cal payments for telehealth services will remain in place for another year. Negotiations on future rates will take place next year.
- Broadband: $3.75 billion for a statewide open-access middle-mile broadband network. This is part of an overall $6 billion multi-year package for broadband infrastructure and improved access to broadband services throughout the state.
- Behavioral health: More than $4.4 billion over five years to create a new, modern, and innovative behavioral health system for youth up to age 25, including $205 million for the Mental Health Student Services Act to fund school and county mental health partnerships that support the mental health and emotional needs of children and youth as they return to schools and everyday life.