Get Care Before Budget Cuts Hit, Says Californians for Patient Care

The following statement is attributed to Carmella Gutierrez, president

of Californians for Patient Care:

“Californians for Patient Care understands Governor Brown and our state

leaders have had to make difficult decisions in finalizing the state’s

budget. However, this is a lose-lose budget for Californians, children

and others who need healthcare services the most and who can least

afford them. We are concerned continued program cuts and the shuffling

of people from one program to another, including children and low-income

seniors, will mean people won’t be able to see their primary care

physicians and providers, resulting in sicker, not healthier

Californians.

Plans to transition an estimated 880,000 children from the Healthy

Families program to Medi-Cal is concerning because there is no guarantee

children will able to remain with their current physician or find

another physician who will accept lower Medi-Cal payments. Despite the

state’s extension of the implementation date to mitigate negative

impacts of the transition, we worry thousands of children will still get

lost in the shuffle.

Additionally, the transition of approximately 1.4 million low-income

seniors and people with disabilities into managed care plans who receive

both Medicare and Medi-Cal coverage is worrisome for the same reasons as

the Healthy Families program shift to Medi-Cal: We worry vulnerable

seniors and those with disabilities will be lost in the shuffle and

further worry that they will not understand how to exercise their new

right to opt-out of the new managed care plan.

We urge parents of any Healthy Families children and adult Medi-Cal

beneficiaries to examine all changes closely and ask questions of their

primary care physicians, providers and their plan administrators.

Specifically, they should ask: Is there a need for me to change

physicians? Are there physicians available near me who accept Medi-Cal?

What happens to my medical records, prescriptions and any planned

appointments? We also strongly suggest people with Healthy Families and

Medi-Cal coverage make care appointments now with their current

providers prior to any cuts going into effect.

We are pleased to see the Governor’s budget restores proposed cuts to

community health clinics, which are vital front-line providers to

millions of Californians. Californians for Patient Care remains

committed to assisting any Californian looking for low- or no-cost

clinics, programs and services. Our online resource, www.myhealthresource.org,

is the most extensive in the state; however, we remind people to expect

longer waits to get an appointment as more people rely on the safety net

providers for their care.

Californians for Patient Care looks forward to a day when patient care

is not compromised by budget necessity. Furthermore, we urge our

legislators and other elected officials to aggressively find appropriate

streams of revenue to ensure that further cuts to our state’s already

struggling healthcare system are avoided.”

Californians for Patient Care is a nonprofit organization based in

Sacramento dedicated to protecting the interests of patients and

ensuring all California consumers have fair and equitable access to high

quality healthcare. For more information, visit www.calpatientcare.org.