U.S. Representative Jeff Denham (R-Turlock), following 18 months of coordination with the California Medical Association (CMA) and the Stanislaus Medical Society, has developed a pilot program through the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation to significantly improve access to healthcare for Medi-Cal patients in Stanislaus County. CMA’s executive board recently voted to proceed with the project.
Nearly 45 percent of Stanislaus County residents are currently enrolled in Medi-Cal but face major barriers to timely care; low reimbursement rates in the state of California have made it difficult for Valley physicians to see more Medi-Cal patients. Rep. Denham’s pilot program will field-test the best Medicaid reimbursement strategies to incentivize more physicians to operate in areas with a high population of Medicaid enrollees, like California’s Central Valley. This is the only model of its kind and is structured to be scalable for other communities with similar challenges across the Valley and the nation.
“Access is the biggest healthcare problem we have in the Central Valley,” said Rep. Denham. “This project will improve physician reimbursement rates and bring more doctors and better care to our community."
“CMA thanks Congressman Jeff Denham for his efforts to improve access to health care in Stanislaus County,” said California Medical Association President David H. Aizuss, MD. “His dedication to promoting an innovative Medicaid pilot program would increase the physician workforce in the Central Valley, improving access to care for thousands of Stanislaus residents and eventually for patients throughout the Medi-Cal program.”
“The Stanislaus Medical Society applauds Congressman Jeff Denham’s Medi-Cal pilot project, which is aimed at improving physician shortages and access to care for Medi-Cal patients in Stanislaus County. Nearly half of the residents of our county are enrolled in Medi-Cal, and while they have coverage, timely access to physicians has been a long-standing problem. We strongly support the twin goals of this important project to increase physician supply by providing incentives for physicians who have completed their medical training in the Central Valley to remain in the area, and to participate in the Medi-Cal program. This pilot promotes access to primary and preventive care, as well as specialists, particularly for patients with chronic conditions,” said Stanislaus County Medical Society President Lynette Grandison, MD.
Rep. Denham’s model is built on the parameters outlined in his ACCESS Act (H.R. 2779) and incorporates cutting edge telehealth technology in addition to implementing innovative chronic care management and preventative care methods. It will improve the delivery and accessibility of quality physician care and increase the overall physician workforce. California currently ranks 48 out of 50 states for lowest reimbursement rates paid to providers of Medicaid services, and the Central Valley has some of the highest Medi-Cal enrollment rates in the nation. Read the full proposal here.