KPCC: Consumer advocates take Medi-Cal backlog fight to the feds

Adrian Florido and Paul Glickman

A coalition of health advocates Friday asked the federal government to force California to do more to reduce its huge backlog of pending Medi-Cal applications. The state has rejected the key elements of a plan proposed by the advocates last month.

In July, the Health Consumer Alliance sent a letter to California’s Department of Health Care Services laying out seven recommendations for cutting the backlog of several hundred thousand Medi-Cal applications. The Department of Health Care Services, which oversees the Medi-Cal program, subsequently sent a letter to the federal government outlining its plan for reducing the backlog

The plan the state presented to the federal government did not include the Consumer Alliance’s key recommendations; instead, it focused on fixing glitches in the state’s computer systems.

In its letter Friday, the Consumer Alliance asked the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to force the state to adopt the advocates’ recommendations. Alliance members consider two of their proposals to be key: that the state grant conditional eligibility to all Medi-Cal applicants who have been waiting more than 45 days, and that it impose a moratorium on all annual renewals for existing beneficiaries, so that officials might focus on clearing the backlog of pending applications.

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