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Monitoring Medi-Cal: Recommendations for Measuring the Performance of California's Medicaid Program

Bailit Health Purchasing

Medi-Cal covers one in five Californians. How best to monitor the performance of the state's largest insurer? This report recommends a "dashboard" to manage the program and provide accountability.

Medi-Cal pays for the health care of 7.7 million people — more than any other Medicaid program in the nation. It is also the largest insurer in the state, covering one in five Californians and generating annual expenditures that are expected to top $50 billion in 2011.

Yet despite Medi-Cal's size and significance, its performance has gone largely unmeasured. In 2007, the California HealthCare Foundation, working with leadership of the California Department of Health Care Services, undertook a project to investigate the potential usefulness of a data framework, or "dashboard," that could:

  • Reflect how well Medi-Cal serves its beneficiaries and California taxpayers, as well as the integral role it plays in the overall health care delivery system
  • Balance the interests of program officials, policymakers, and stakeholders by providing a clear summary of program performance without sacrificing depth
  • Apply measures to the different population groups, services, and programs that are able to reflect the importance of each of these performance categories

This report presents the study's findings and recommendations, as well as a series of steps California could take to develop such a dashboard.

The complete text is available as a Document Download.