Opinion: New Medi-Cal policies could be devastating for chronic care patients

Your doctor will treat patients with ALS. File photo courtesy of the SLA Association

Providing affordable patient-centered care is the most effective way to provide Californians with quality care through early diagnosis of chronic disease, access to appropriate treatment, and better management of care. The Way. Effective Treatment and Prevention Chronic Disease You need to have access to integrated health care at an affordable price – and having continued access to a trusted provider and health care plan is an important part of that.

However, the new California Medical Services Authority policy threatens to bring uncertainty and confusion to the medical care of hundreds of thousands of San Diego County residents. The new policy will reduce the number of managed care plans in San Diego County from seven to two.

This policy change was made without the advice of health advocates, county health officials and medical professionals responsible for maintaining the health of Californians and is devastating the health of the people of San Diego affected. chronic illness. Can have an impact.

Stable medical insurance and ongoing medical care are essential to effectively prevent and manage chronic disease. Yet by reducing the number of San Diego County health care plans from seven to two, California has unnecessarily forced hundreds of thousands of Medi-Cal beneficiaries to change plans, becoming primary care providers or specialized. You can lose.

And it doesn’t just injure over 700,000 people now. Join Medi-CalHowever, it will affect the medical choices of over 900,000 San Diego County residents. topic .. Over the years, many chronic disease patients have established relationships and trust with their health care providers, developed personalized treatment plans, and integrated chronic disease prevention practices into their lives. daily. We must prioritize these relationships in order to maintain the health of our neighbors.

In addition to losing access to healthcare providers, removing a person from their current healthcare plan may include round-trip transportation to and from appointments, a 24-hour medical hotline. , 7 days a week, support for housing and food aid, etc. has a significant impact on the benefits of other health care. A few. Many Californians with chronic illnesses, especially those of color and with low education and family income, rely on these long-term care benefits for their health care.

For example, a black man in San Diego Best example Heart disease treatment and managed care providers offer comprehensive integrated care to treat and manage this chronic disease. Loss of access to healthcare teams and the benefits patients are accustomed to can lead to inadequate care and greater health inequalities in San Diego’s most vulnerable communities.

The move also adds further uncertainty to the medical system disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, disproportionately affecting black and Latin Californians, and the health that many Medi-Cal patients face. Increases inequalities and financial hardship. and, Delta variant It causes further complications and healthcare professionals are navigating the continuing effects of COVID-19. Patients need stability and certainty of care.

Removing access to the health care plans that currently serve San Diego County can also have a significant financial impact. Suddenly forcing chronic care patients to switch providers will result in care interruptions, which will negatively affect their treatment plans and increase costs. Additionally, reducing the number of available health care plans can eliminate significant competition and increase costs for both the state and patients.

As the Department of Health Services finalizes the decision on a Medi-Cal-run care provider, San Diego County officials will withdraw this new policy to ensure patients, providers and caregivers hear their views. We recommend that you ask the state. Affordable and stable access to health care is an important factor in managing chronic disease and leading a healthy, balanced life, and after the pandemic, the number of health care plans in San Diego The state’s decision to reduce The Diego counties will significantly harm the members that they are. ordered to serve.

Scott Suckow has over 20 years of experience working with one of the nation’s leading voluntary health organizations focused on a variety of health issues. He is the president of the California Chronic Care Union in San Diego County.

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