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Public Health Care Systems Applaud the Approval of a Crucial California Medicaid Waiver Extension

OAKLAND, CA, December 29, 2021 – Today, the State of California announced initial federal approval of a five-year Medicaid (Medi-Cal) Section 1115 waiver extension, part of a bigger package of proposals called CalAIM.  Section 1115 waivers allow states to waive certain federal Medicaid rules so they can pursue innovative strategies to improve care for Medicaid beneficiaries.

Though they represent just six percent of all hospitals in the state, California’s 21 public health care systems provide 40 percent of all hospital care to the state’s remaining uninsured and 35 percent of all hospital care to Medi-Cal beneficiaries in the communities they serve.  As such, public health care systems play a central role in Section 1115 waiver programs, including the Global Payment Program (GPP) which encourages primary and preventive care for the remaining uninsured. Today’s waiver approval renews the GPP for another five years.

“Public health care systems play a critical, often lifesaving, role in serving the uninsured,” said Erica Murray, President and CEO, California Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems (CAPH). “The GPP is a vital program that gives public health systems flexibilities to deliver the right care in the right setting to the uninsured.”

The Medi-Cal waiver agreement also includes important funding through the program called Providing Access and Transforming Health (PATH). This program supports the provision of non-medical services, such as home improvements, to help keep people living independently and healthy. The prior waiver’s Whole Person Care program, led by county and public health care systems, offered similar services. Under CalAIM, these non-medical services will be overseen by Medi-Cal managed care plans. PATH funding will support this transition and help ensure continuity of services.

“Though there are many details to be ironed out at the federal, state, and local levels, we congratulate the state for securing this initial agreement,” added Murray. “We pledge our continued support as we all work together to create equitable and accessible services to California’s vulnerable populations.”