California Healthline: New Reports Shine Light on Long-Term Care Problems

by George Lauer For a couple decades now, advocates for seniors and aging Californians have warned that long-term care problems will get larger and more numerous if government and health industry officials don’t make some policy changes. Three new reports are turning up the pressure on policymakers: A report titled, “A Shattered System: Reforming Long-Term … Continue reading

California Healthline: State ‘A Few Weeks’ From Waiver Draft

by David Gorn The state is weeks away from finishing the first draft of a new 1115 federal Medicaid waiver, according to Jennifer Kent, director of the Department of Health Care Services. In her first legislative hearing since being appointed director last month, Kent told the Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Health and Human Services about … Continue reading

California Healthline: Judge Rules on Medi-Cal Backlog Suit, Orders State To Adhere to 45-Day Deadline

by David Gorn On Thursday, an Alameda County Superior Court judge issued a preliminary injunction requiring the state to adhere to a 45-day limit for processing Medi-Cal applications. The ruling by Judge Evelio Grillo was a victory for health care advocates in a lawsuit over the state’s extensive backlog in processing Medi-Cal applications. The Medi-Cal expansion … Continue reading

California Healthline: Home Care Overtime Decision Leaves $200 Million Question Mark in State Budget

by David Gorn Last week’s decision by the state to drop a plan to pay home health workers overtime wages has left a gap in the governor’s budget proposal. U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon ruled on Wednesday last week that only Congress has the authority to award extra pay to home care workers. The … Continue reading

California Healthline: Budget Proposal ‘A Good Starting Point’

by David Gorn “This budget proposal, it’s a great start,” said Shirley Weber (D-San Diego), chair of the Assembly Committee on Budget after Gov. Jerry Brown (D) released his spending plan last week. “By no means is it the end of the conversation, but it’s a good starting point.” The Assembly budget committee was the … Continue reading

California Healthline: Alejo Takes Over Latino Caucus Chair

by Bob Norberg, California Healthline Contributing Reporter ssembly member Luis Alejo (D-Watsonville) is the new chair of the California Latino Legislative Caucus for 2015-16, which met for the first time on Wednesday. He succeeds Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell). The caucus, made up of 18 assembly members and three senators, focuses primarily on improving the quality … Continue reading

California Healthline: Budget Health Care Bartering Brewing

by David Gorn Let the bargaining begin. Last week’s budget proposal by Gov. Jerry Brown (D) didn’t restore cuts from previous years — with the exception of the already agreed-upon reversal of a 7% cut in In-Home Supportive Services hours — and that omission was not lost on consumer health advocates. Health care advocates pointed … Continue reading

California Healthline: Health Committee Members Announced

by David Gorn Senate leadership yesterday announced the members of the Senate Committee on Health, along with releasing the makeup of its other committee memberships. As expected, Sen. Ed Hernandez (D-West Covina) returns as chair of Senate Health. The vice chair this session is Janet Nguyen (R-Garden Grove), serving in the Senate for the first … Continue reading

California Healthline: Head of Health Care Services Looks Back on Tumultuous, Fruitful Years

In a California Healthline report by Rachel Dornhelm, the director of the Department of Health Care Services, Toby Douglas, reflects on his 10 years of work at the department, the last four as director. Douglas has presided over the expansion of Medi-Cal, which has added two million Californians to the program, and a shift of about 80% … Continue reading

California Healthline: Will Twin Medi-Cal Cuts Affect Access?

by David Gorn Reimbursement rates dropped Jan. 1 for Medi-Cal primary care providers in two ways: A provision of the Affordable Care Act temporarily set primary care reimbursement rates at Medicare levels, significantly higher than Medicaid payments. The increase lasted two years and expired on Jan. 1. A state reduction in Medi-Cal reimbursement for primary … Continue reading

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