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 states
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 wont be able to see their primary care
physicians and providers, resulting in sicker, not healthier
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
states 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 Governors 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 states 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.