Los Angeles Daily News: Medi-Cal patients finding it tough to see specialists

By Laurie Udesky, CHCF Center for Health Reporting

 

Fifty-year-old Long-Beach resident Sovothy Pak is on Medi-Cal, the state’s low-income health insurance program, and that turned out to be a complication when tumors from her cervical cancer began bleeding.

Her doctors said she needed radiation to stop the bleeding. But she couldn’t get in to see a specialist.

She weakened and was in growing pain. “We had to take her to the emergency room (for a transfusion) because her red blood cell counts were so low,” said Pak’s son-in-law Mike Wilson.

Finally, after multiple calls to Pak’s Medi-Cal medical group and lobbying by an outside nonprofit group, Maternal and Child Health Access, Pak got the radiation therapy she urgently needed a month later. 

That was in August. Since then hundreds of thousands of newly eligible Californians have signed up for Medi-Cal through the Affordable Care Act, raising new questions about the access and availability of specialist care in the system.

The Department of Health Care Services, which administers Medi-Cal, reports that 8.5 million people are currently enrolled. Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) expansion, another 1 million to 2 million people will be eligible to enroll this year.

Continue reading here: http://www.dailynews.com/health/20140304/medi-cal-patients-finding-it-tough-to-see-specialists

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