California Healthline: Advocates Say State Cooperating With Possible Revamp of Notices to Duals

by David Gorn

Advocates for seniors and the disabled expressed both relief and continued concern over the weekend about the state’s approach to its May 1 launch of half of the counties in the duals demonstration project Cal MediConnect, a central component of the state’s Coordinated Care Initiative.

Following a group letter by advocates that raised concerns about the notices being sent to dual-eligible beneficiaries — particularly over the inability of blind or visually impaired duals to understand their choices in the transition — advocates said state officials at the Department of Health Care Services have responded with a willingness to alter their notices to meet some of the concerns.

“The department has said they’re willing to sit down and fix some of this,” said Amber Cutler, staff attorney in the Los Angeles office of the National Senior Citizens Law Center, a not-for-profit advocacy group that was one of the signatories on the letter to DHCS and CMS.

“When the 60-day notices went out [March 1], we thought those were totally inadequate,” Cutler said. “All the language and messaging was inconsistent and confusing. The department has said they’re open to changing the messaging, at least in the 60-day notices to come. And hopefully make some changes to the choice form.”

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