Concerns Abound About Healthy Families Transition

Today the MRMIB Board held a stakeholder forum about the Healthy Families transition in the place of their regular board meeting.  The Board is working with the Department of Health Care Services, the Department of Managed Health Care, with the input of diverse stakeholders, to create a strategic plan for transitioning Healthy Families kids to Medi-Cal.  This plan is to be submitted to the Legislature by October 1, 2012.

This meeting was intended as an opportunity for stakeholders to share their concerns and suggestions with the members of the MRMIB that attended the meeting.  DHCS will be holding separate stakeholder meetings, the first of which will be held via webinar on August 21st from 1pm to 3pm.

A number of stakeholders testified at the forum, highlighting a variety of concerns they wished to share with the MRMIB Board in order to ensure that the transition is done right, and that no kids fall through the cracks.

Among the concerns raised by advocates were:

There are many concerns that plans (medical and dental) will not have adequate time to build networks that meet network adequacy standards and ensure that enrolled children will have access to the providers they need in a timely manner.  There are also concerns that providers will continue to limit the number of children they are willing to see at the Medi-Cal reimbursement rate.

Board members and stakeholders were interested in what data points should be tracked and examined in order to monitor the transition.

There has been a great deal of confusion among consumers since the Legislature first approved this plan.  MRMIB has yet to release any official information and parents are confused and worried that their childrens’ coverage will be impacted.  Advocates suggested that MRMIB feature information on their website and create a press release with information about the transition.  Though there are not currently official materials for consumers about the transition, our colleagues at the 100% Campaign have created some helpful flyers in English and Spanish that we encourage you to share.

There was also some discussion about how MRMIB and DHCS and the health plans could coordinate providing notice to parents when their children are transitioned in a way that minimizes panic and confusion.

Advocates asked that the agencies involved coordinate their stakeholder processes and provide adequate time for stakeholders to comment on the strategic plan.

The conversation with the Board and Staff of MRMIB was positive today, as they seemed open to the input and concerns expressed by stakeholders.  We will provide more updates as the plans for transition develop further.

Health Access California promotes quality, affordable health care for all Californians.