Many Enrolled in California Healthcare Plan Lack Interpretation Services, Surveys Show

By | DUAL DEMONSTRATIONS, DUAL ELIGIBLES, IN THE NEWS, Language Access, Medicaid, Medicare

The Sacramento Bee: Many Enrolled in California Healthcare Plan Lack Interpretation Services, Surveys Show (November 6, 2019)

Half of the non-English speaking people enrolled in Cal MediConnect reported they could never get a medical interpreter when they needed one, according to a survey conducted by San Francisco State University. Currently, Cal MediConnect is a pilot program that coordinates care for dual eligibles in seven California counties. However, a similar program will be rolled out that requires all of California’s dual eligibles to receive care through managed care plans. This new program is called CalAim. “Our experience in Cal MediConnect can be used to predict where potential language access barriers might be in this new model ‘CalAim’,” said Denny Chan, senior staff attorney at Justice in Aging. “Sooner or later, this will affect all duals across California. The agencies want to move people to managed care plans across the state, so it is important for us to make sure these problems don’t continue.”

Advocates Guide To California’s Coordinated Care Initiative Version 6

By | Advocate's Guide, CA Health Network Alert, DUAL DEMONSTRATIONS, DUAL ELIGIBLES

The Coordinated Care Initiative (CCI)—including California’s dual eligible demonstration project Cal MediConnect—is well underway in all seven CCI counties including Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Mateo, and Santa Clara. There have been significant changes to the CCI since the release of Version Five of Justice in Aging’s Advocates Guide to California’s Coordinated Care Initiative in October 2016.

Released today, Version Six of the Guide includes:

  • A description of new and updated CCI policies
  • Additional advocacy tips
  • Evaluation results and new resources

If you have saved or printed Version Five, please replace it with Version Six, because the former now contains outdated information.

If you missed the webinar, Coordinated Care Initiative: 2017 Update, the video is now available.

Repeal of the ACA—Without a Replacement—Threatens California Seniors

By | Affordable Care Act, BLOG, DUAL DEMONSTRATIONS, DUAL ELIGIBLES, Health Care, Health Care Defense, HOMEPAGE, Medicaid, Medicare
There are currently 7.6 million older adults living in California who rely on Medicare, Medi-Cal, and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to see a doctor, receive care in their home, and pay for prescription drugs. The repeal of the ACA threatens these critical programs, jeopardizing the care seniors receive every day. Read More

Cal MediConnect: A Long Way to Go

By | Affordable Care Act, BLOG, DUAL DEMONSTRATIONS, DUAL ELIGIBLES, Health Care, HOMEPAGE, Medicaid, Medicare
Evaluation and enrollment data on the Cal MediConnect program reveals that the program has a long way to go to deliver on the promise of integrated person-centered care. While the data contains some promising trends, it also reveals serious deficiencies that demand focused attention from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS).

The Cal MediConnect (CMC) program, which created new health plans integrating Medicare and Medi-Cal benefits for dually eligible beneficiaries, has been in effect for over two years in seven California counties. Enrollment data released by DHCS and a recent series of evaluations, including surveys, focus groups, and polling, paint a picture of how the program is performing and how enrollees are faring so far. Read More

Meeting the Mental Health Needs of Dual Eligibles: An Opportunity for Advocates

May is both Older Americans Month and Mental Health Awareness Month. Mental health is a critical issue for older Americans, as one in five seniors has a mental health issue, and older men have the highest suicide rate of any group, according to the CDC. The mental health needs of seniors and persons with disabilities who are dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid are often overlooked in traditional medical settings, ramping up costs and leading to inadequate care. Read More

The Duals Demonstration: A First Glimpse at Lessons Learned


In January 2016, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released the first ever evaluation of the Financial Alignment Initiative (FAI) known as the dual eligible demonstration.

Since the first dual eligible demonstrations rolled out in August 2013, Justice in Aging has followed the process both through the advocates on the ground who counsel clients directly, through the plans we’ve worked closely with, and through our work directly with the state agencies that administer the demonstrations. As national experts on the issues facing dual eligibles we’ve been both an information hub for advocates and feedback loop for policymakers. As such, we’ve been awaiting the release of the first formal evaluations of the demonstrations to see if they match the information we’ve been receiving. They have been released and we’ve analyzed them and published an issue brief on the findings.

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WEBINAR: The California Coordinated Care Initiative: An Update Two Years into Implementation

When: Thursday, February 18 at 2:00 p.m. PST/5:00 p.m. EST

California began implementation of the Coordinated Care Initiative (CCI), including the federally-approved dual eligible demonstration known as Cal MediConnect, in April 2014. The CCI is now underway in seven counties including Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Mateo, and Santa Clara.

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Intersectional Advocacy in Health Care and Long-Term Services and Supports

Partnerships are at the heart of our work at Justice in Aging. I’m a staff attorney in Justice in Aging’s Los Angeles office. Much of my work focuses on disparities in access to quality, person-centered health care and services for California’s dual eligibles (the low-income, high-need demographic eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid). My day-to-day consists of training and education of advocates “on the ground,” providers, health plans, and policymakers and meeting with these folks regularly to share issues and synthesize solutions. This includes opportunities to participate in forums, plenaries, and tele-town hall meetings that advance advocacy for older adults on a local level by engaging multiple sectors of the community in the same room.

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The Dual Eligible Demonstrations at Five: Justice in Aging Toolkit on Design and Implementation


States and CMS are in the early stages of evaluating the demonstrations and also looking at mid-course corrections and improvements based on experiences to-date. At the same time, advocates and policymakers are contemplating future health care delivery system reforms, as part of a broader reform effort to pay for value and outcomes, instead of volume.

To contribute to these efforts, Justice in Aging has created a toolkit of design and implementation resources. The toolkit consists of:

  • A new tool for advocates comparing different state outreach and enrollment materials to highlight effective models to use when reaching vulnerable populations. The new tool includes two appendices: Appendix 1, a working chart with links to outreach materials in different states. Appendix 2, accessible from the Outreach and Notices tab on this page, includes examples of notices currently in use in states, and our comments on strengths and areas of improvement.
  • Resources on appeals procedures, designing enrollment notices, care continuity, and ensuring consumer protections in integrated models. These resources were developed earlier by Justice in Aging to influence the demonstration’s design to ensure consumer protections were a focus of new managed care delivery systems. They are assembled together for the toolkit and linked from this page.