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The CHCF Blog

Moving Medi-Cal Forward — Together

Sandra R. Hernández, President & Chief Executive Officer
Sandra Hernandez
Sandra R. Hernández

On July 13 CHCF hosted a briefing in Sacramento on the future of Medi-Cal. More than 500 people joined online, in person, or by phone to hear a distinguished panel of experts discuss the findings and recommendations in a new CHCF-sponsored report from Manatt Health, Moving Medi-Cal Forward on the Path to Delivery System Transformation.

Panelists and over 40 other experts interviewed for the report agreed on a vision for Medi-Cal as a program with shared accountability among providers to achieve high-value, high-quality, and whole-person care. There was considerable support for the report's recommendations, even as opinions differed about how to move forward and at what pace.

Moving Medi-Cal Forward #MediCal4ward

Now is the time for all of us to work together to overcome the barriers to achieving this vision for Medi-Cal. Fragmented care, organizational and financing silos, and reimbursement rates among the lowest in the country are just a few of the challenges we face. So much work to strengthen the program is already underway by the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) and state officials, health plan partners, health care providers, and other organizations. There is a tremendous opportunity to build on this foundation to strive for even more ambitious reforms.

One in three Californians now count on Medi-Cal for access to essential health care services. The program affects the health, well-being, and quality of life of millions. As we heard from the panelists, Medi-Cal is at a critical juncture, and we must continue to push each other to improve the system. We at CHCF will keep pushing and working collaboratively with partners to identify and advance policy and delivery system reforms.

I saw deep commitment at the briefing, and see everyday leadership and innovation across the Medi-Cal program. Despite the challenges we face, I remain optimistic about the future of Medi-Cal and its ability to improve care for its beneficiaries.

Stakeholders' Priorities for Medi-Cal Reforms

As CHCF considers how we can best contribute to achieving a Medi-Cal program with shared accountability among providers to achieve high-value, high-quality, whole-person care, we want to hear from others. To this end, we invited briefing attendees to rate the importance of each recommendation in Moving Medi-Cal Forward. The majority of respondents told us that integrating care for those with serious mental illness (68%) and investing in initiatives that address the pressing health-related needs of the Medi-Cal population with complex health conditions (54%) should be high priorities. And half or nearly half of respondents told us that focusing on data improvements (50%), revising managed care rate-setting methodologies (46%), and addressing workforce shortages (45%) also are very important. The report and this feedback will shape our work.

CHCF continues to build a robust portfolio of projects that align with the recommendations in the Manatt report. We are working with a variety of partners on issues related to financing, rate setting, data sharing, and the integration of behavioral and physical health within the Medi-Cal program. In the coming months, we'll share more information on these projects and on how you can engage with us.

In addition, the foundation will focus upcoming articles in The CHCF Blog to explore the recommendations from Moving Medi-Cal Forward. I hope you'll read and share these articles and send us your ideas. Please add your voice by commenting on the articles and by joining the conversation on social media using #MediCal4ward.

No single organization, government agency, or foundation can tackle this work alone, but I am confident that together we can help move Medi-Cal forward.

About Sandra

Dr. Sandra R. Hernández has been president and CEO of the California Health Care Foundation since January 2014. CHCF is an independent foundation with assets of more than $700 million, headquartered in Oakland, California, and dedicated to making health care work for all Californians, especially low-income and underserved populations.

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