Health Agency Opposes Bill to Create Children’s Medi-Cal Advisory Panel

State health officials have logged official opposition to a bill designed to create an advisory committee on Medi-Cal children's issues. In a letter last week to the bill's author, officials from the Department of Health Care Services said they were taking a stand against a legislative proposal to transform the Healthy Families Advisory Board into the Medi-Cal Children's Health Advisory Panel.…

Most California Children with Mental Illness Do Not Receive Treatment

While hundreds of thousands of California children have mental health needs, about 70% never receive treatment, according to a policy brief released Thursday by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, KPCC's "KPCC News" reports (Florido, "KPCC News," KPCC, 7/24). The brief was based on data from the 2007 and 2009 California Health Interview Survey. Study Findings Researchers found that…

Medicaid Waiver Renewal Process Starts

State health officials this week will start the lengthy process to renew California's federal 1115 Medicaid waiver -- the state's five-year health care reform project. The "Bridge to Reform" included many of the state's delivery and payment reforms in recent years, including the expansion of Medi-Cal to include Californians up to 133% of federal poverty level. The waiver is due to expire in…

Many Steps To Go Before Authorizing Autism Therapy As Benefit, State Says

Paradigm Note: For school districts participating in California’s LEA Medi-Cal Billing Option Program (LEA Program) it’s important to note that these developments, while important, do not impact the list of services that are billable under the LEA program. Behavioral health services are not a covered service under the LEA program and would therefore require a state plan amendment (SPA) to be…

Bill Sidesteps Governor, Accepts Grant

If you can't beat 'em, legislate 'em. Bucking one provision from the governor in the recently adopted budget, a new bill co-authored by Sen. Ed Hernandez (D-West Covina) and Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) will be presented in the Assembly Committee on Health today. SB 18 would accept a $6 million grant from the California Endowment with the intention of drawing down an additional $6 million…

Many Health Clinics Underprepared to Meet Demand Under ACA

Fewer than half of community health clinics in Los Angeles are prepared to treat an influx of patients who obtained health coverage under the Affordable Care Act -- a trend that could have statewide implications, according to a brief by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, the Los Angeles Times' "L.A. Now" reports (Karlamangla, "L.A. Now," Los Angeles Times, 5/21). Background on Newly…

House Democrats Unveil Bill to Fix Mental Health Care System

On Tuesday, House Democrats introduced a bill (HR 274) that would overhaul the nation's mental health care system to better identify, prevent and treat mental illness, The Hill reports. According to The Hill, the new bill -- by Rep. Ron Barber (D-Ariz.) -- could further complicate the push for mental health care reforms as a similar GOP-sponsored measure (HR 3717) introduced last year has…

Signs Point to Adding Autism Coverage for Kids Under Medi-Cal Managed Care

The state has been considering the addition of autism therapy as a Medi-Cal benefit based on legal developments in other states, according to state officials at a budget subcommittee hearing this week. "We believe it's reasonable for the Legislature to consider adding ABA therapy services to Medi-Cal managed care [and making that] a high priority," said Ross Brown, a fiscal and policy analyst…

California Grants $75M for County Mental Health Care Programs

On Thursday, California Treasurer Bill Lockyer (D) announced that the state will distribute about $75 million in grants to boost county mental health care programs, the Los Angeles Times' "L.A. Now" reports. Funding for the grants was approved by the California Health Facilities Financing Authority. A total of 20 grants will be distributed to 28 counties in the state for efforts to expand…

State Broaches Idea of Eliminating California Children’s Services Carve-Out

A state health official this week said the Department of Health Care Services is starting a stakeholder process to look at alternatives to the California Children's Services program for children with severe and rare illnesses. Originally established in 1992, CSC has been renewed half a dozen times by the Legislature, most recently in 2011 with a bill, AB 301 by Richard Pan, D-Sacramento. Pan's…