Biweekly Briefing Articles

5 Things To Know: CDPH Launches New Opioid Resource Website, MSSP Waiver Renewal Application – 30-Day Public Comment Period, January Marks National Blood Donor Month, Urgent Need to Increase Immunization Coverage for COVID-19, Influenza, and RSV Immunizations, Office of Climate Change and Health Equity Launches Support Program

CDPH LAUNCHES NEW OPIOID RESOURCE WEBSITE: The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) launched a new, comprehensive website on the opioid epidemic that gives Californians a single resource for prevention, data, treatment, and support. The website is part of Governor Gavin Newsom’s multi-pronged approach to connect Californians with information to prevent and reduce overdoses and support those struggling with substance use and addiction.   

DHCS CALAIM COMMUNITY SUPPORTS STANDARDIZATION STARTING JAN. 1, 2024: Community supports are substitute services or settings provided by Medi-Cal managed care plans (MCPs) to address Medi-Cal members’ health-related social needs, help them live healthier lives, and avoid higher, costlier levels of care. MCPs must remove any previously approved restrictions or limitations and adhere with the full community supports service definitions by Jan. 1, 2024. MCPs will no longer have the option to narrow the eligibility criteria or impose additional limitations on the service definitions that include eligibility criteria, geographic or otherwise. For more information, please refer to the Department of Health Care Services Community Supports Policy Guide

NEW YEAR WILL BRING EXPANDED MEDI-CAL COVERAGE TO PEOPLE AGES 26-49: Beginning Jan. 1, 2024, a new law in California will allow adults ages 26 through 49 to qualify for full-scope Medi-Cal, regardless of immigration status. All other Medi-Cal eligibility rules, including income limits, will still apply.​​ If an individual without satisfactory immigration status for full coverage Medi-Cal is between 26 and 49 years old and qualifies for Medi-Cal, they will get restricted coverage now and full coverage in January 2024.  

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services do not consider receipt of health, food, or housing benefits as part of the public charge determination. Therefore, using Medi-Cal benefits (except for residential nursing home or mental health institution care) will not hurt an individual’s immigration status. For more information, refer to the California Health and Human Services Agency Public Charge Guide or visit the Department of Health Care Services web page

For more information, refer to the California Health and Human Services Agency Public Charge Guide or visit the Department of Health Care Services web page

NEW FROM HCAI – DASHBOARD ON RACE & ETHNICITY OF CALIFORNIA’S HEALTH WORKFORCE: The Department of Health Care Access and Information (HCAI) Research Data Center has released an interactive visualization to highlight trends in the race and ethnicity of California’s health workforce. These visualizations display the race and ethnicity groups of 47 key actively licensed health workforce professionals by region, time since license issue date, and how they compare to California’s population. By understanding the racial and ethnic makeup of the health workforce, HCAI can better identify areas of over- and underrepresentation and improve efforts to build a diverse and effective workforce.    

CHILDREN’S BEHAVIORAL HEALTH SERVICES LACK TIMELY ACCESS: The California State Auditor recently investigated children’s access to Medi-Cal-covered behavioral health services. The auditor concluded that many Medi-Cal health plans were out of compliance with state requirements for timely care and that the Department of Health Care Services is not adequately disciplining health plans. The high number of children’s emergency department visits for mental health concerns demonstrates the need for Medi-Cal managed care plans to improve children’s access to upstream behavioral health services.