Report Details New Ways California’s Underfunding of Medi-Cal Denies Patients Access to Care

[June 16, 2015] SACRAMENTO, Calif. – A report released today by the California State Auditor details yet more ways the State of California’s underfunding of Medi-Cal leaves many children, seniors and people with disabilities without access to essential medical care.

The office found that directories of Medi-Cal providers published by the California Department of Healthcare Services (DHS) are riddled with errors, including listing doctors who are not accepting Medi-Cal patients, incorrect phone numbers, and wrong street addresses for physicians. In Fresno County, nearly 25 percent of the information was incorrect.

Additionally, a monthly average of 12,500 calls from Medi-Cal patients who sought assistance from DHS’s ombudsman’s office – nearly 550 a day – were unable to get through because the office’s phone system could not handle the volume of calls.

“It’s time for the state to admit it has a crisis in Medi-Cal that harms millions. The state budget takes the first steps to fix it, but far more needs to be done,” said Dave Regan, president of Service Employees International Union – United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW), the state’s largest union of healthcare workers.

“Medi-Cal needs to be fully funded or we will continue to have a two-tiered healthcare system in our state – a dysfunctional, inadequate system for Medi-Cal patients, which the audit report shines a light on, and a much higher-functioning system for people with private health insurance,” Regan continued. “Underfunding Medi-Cal is both a health crisis and a moral crisis.”

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