CMA unveils plan to recoup Prop 56 funding to improve access to care

CAL/AAEM News Service at
Wed Mar 29 19:17:34 PDT 2017



March 20, 2017


CMA unveils plan to recoup Prop 56 funding to improve access to care 



 <> California
Medical Association



The California Medical Association (CMA), in partnership with the California
Dental Association (CDA), unveiled a budget proposal to improve access to
medical and dental care for the state's 14.3 million Medi-Cal and Denti-Cal
patients. The proposal focuses on targeted Medi-Cal investments to increase
the number of doctors - both physicians and dentists - who participate in
these programs and enable them to accept more patients in order to improve
Medi-Cal patients' access to care provided in California.

Gov. Jerry Brown's 2017-18 current budget proposal takes $1.2 billion in
Proposition 56 tobacco tax funds that were intended to improve access to
care and instead, uses them for state general fund purposes. The Legislative
Analyst's Office report on Prop 56 points out that this use of tobacco tax
funds goes against the "common sense view" of the initiative's
non-supplantation provision and would be subject to legal challenge.

The governor's proposal also conflicts with the plain language of the
tobacco tax initiative that directs funds to be spent to improve access by
improving provider payments; the governor's proposal does nothing to improve
access, coverage or care.

"As a physician who has seen firsthand the escalating numbers of patients
unable to find a doctor who can viably accept them into their practice, it
is clear that tobacco tax must be put to its intended use of increasing
patient access," said CMA President Ruth Haskins, M.D. "This proposal honors
the will of voters and the letter of the law for commons sense investments
in the Medi-Cal system that will result in vulnerable patients gaining
timely access to care."

The CMA/CDA plan is fiscally prudent - providing supplemental payments based
on a sliding scale to correspond with a provider's level of participation in
the Medi-Cal program without exceeding budgeted special funds.

By tethering the supplemental reimbursements directly to the percentage of
Medi-Cal or Denti-Cal patients a physician or dentist serves, the plan will
produce measurable results for patients; it will be straightforward for the
Department of Health Care Services to administer; and it can be implemented
regardless of Medicaid funding decisions on the federal level. Most
importantly, it will directly increase access to treatment and services for
patients who currently face significant barriers to care.

California's Medi-Cal and Denti-Cal provider networks suffer from chronic
underfunding that directly affects patient care. California provider rates
are among the lowest in the nation - 48th of 50 states. As a result, only 20
percent of dentists in California are able to accept Denti-Cal patients and
16 California counties either have no Denti-Cal providers, or none accepting
new patients. Forty percent of California physicians provide 80 percent of
Medi-Cal visits.

Since California's Medi-Cal and Denti-Cal programs are the nation's largest,
covering more than a third of California's residents and 60 percent of
children, the state needs a robust provider network to meet the medical and
dental needs of these 14 million Californians.

The proposal is a common sense solution that targets investments to
strengthen California's Medi-Cal and Denti-Cal provider network and improve
patient access to care. Investing tobacco tax revenues as the voters
intended will lead to better health outcomes for Medi-Cal and Denti-Cal
enrollees and result in long-term savings to the state.




Jeff Wells
Deputy Editor, CAL/AAEM News Service


Brian Potts MD, MBA
Managing Editor, CAL/AAEM News Service

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