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Santa Clara, San Mateo Counties to Begin Cal MediConnect Demonstration Project

Many of you may be already aware of California’s Coordinated Care Initiative (CCI), which is beginning implementation on April 1st of this year. What you may not know is that two of our local counties—Santa Clara and San Mateo — are serving as pilot sites for the state implementation.

The CCI project is designed to improve the way in which the state’s dual-eligible Medicaid/Medicare beneficiaries and other low-income seniors and those with disabilities receive their health care. A centerpiece of the project is the federally approved demonstration project known as Cal MediConnect.

To help caregivers and other advocates better wade through the bureaucratic maze of regulations, many organizations will be offering training in the coming months. A couple of training opportunities that are coming up shortly that are worth noting.

  • The National Senior Citizens Law Center’s (NSCLC) Update for Advocates webinar is scheduled for March 4 from 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. The purpose of the training is to provide updates on implementation, explain the intended effects of the CCI and assist advocates in understanding what they can do help clients or caregivers. Other topics will also be covered in the training series on future dates between May and December. Presenters will include NSCLS’s Georgia Burke and Faye Gordon. For further information, check out webinar information here.

  • The San Mateo Senior Center is sponsoring a free workshop on the new program on March 7, from 10:30 – 11:30 a.m. at the center. Area seniors and other interested individuals are encouraged to attend the training, which will be provided by Shelly Grimaldi with Harbage Consulting. Further information on the event is available on the senior center website.

A few facts about the California Coordinated Care Initiative: Cal MediConnect plans will coordinate all health services for eligible individuals. For current Medi-cal recipients who aren’t already enrolled in a managed care plan, a coordinated care plan will now be provided. The Cal MediConnect program is a three-year project that was developed to promote coordinated health care delivery to two of the state’s most vulnerable populations: seniors and people with disabilities. It also aims to drive higher quality care and emphasize home and community service settings over institutional ones. Such a move should help create a truly person-centered healthcare system that is more sustainable (i.e., cost effective!).

In California, it is estimated that up to seven in ten dual Medicaid/Medicare-eligible beneficiaries are at least 65 years old, and most of these are women. Of over 1 million individuals with dual healthcare eligibility, almost half will be eligible for the MediConnect program, while the remainder will be enrolled in a Medi-Cal managed care health plan, which will include long-term supports and wrap-around services.

While the ultimate impact of the program is still unknown, we are optimistic about the CCI’s emphasis on better care coordination, quality care, and home-and community-based services. As many of Homecare California’s service locations fall within two of the pilot counties, we look forward to getting a front-seat perspective on the new program and to see how it benefits those we serve.

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