California Healthline: ‘Promise, Peril’ of Dual Eligible Demonstration Project Studied

John William Springs, a retiree who gets nearly $12,000 a year in Social Security and disability checks, is $1,300 above the poverty threshold: officially, not poor.
by David Gorn

Health care researchers yesterday unveiled a portion of a project examining multiple-condition, multiple-provider consumers affected by the California dual-eligible demonstration project. Their briefing included policy directives they think will steer the program toward promise and away from peril.

The HOME Project, through the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, is an ongoing qualitative study designed to investigate how care and services are arranged for the frail and elderly population targeted by the state’s duals demonstration project, known as Cal MediConnect.

Cal MediConnect is scheduled to launch April 1 in San Mateo County and on May 1 in three other California counties — Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego. It will automatically enroll roughly 400,000 Californians eligible for both Medicare and Medi-Cal coverage into Medi-Cal managed care plans.

“We’re on the verge of a major policy change in California,” said Kathryn Kietzman, a research scientist at the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research. “Cal MediConnect aims to improve the quality and efficiency of care for dual eligibles. That’s the promise.”

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