Thursday, December 6, 2012
California officials say they're going full speed ahead with plans to close the popular Healthy Families program and move kids to Medi-Cal.
California State officials say California will begin to transition 800,000 kids out of the Healthy Families program and into Medi-Cal next month. The move comes despite concerns that some children may not get the same level of care.
Nearly 80,000 children in San Diego County get low-cost medical and dental care through Healthy Families. State officials say closing the program and moving kids to Medi-Cal will save California about $73 million a year.
Dr. Sheri Franklin heads up the San Diego County Medical Society. She said the move may look good on paper, but may be problematic.
"Having an insurance card doesn't mean you have access to a doctor," Franklin explained. "So, Medi-Cal has issues with the number of doctors available to see those patients, as it is."
The Medi-Cal program pays physicians less than Healthy Families. As a result, not all pediatricians accept Medi-Cal patients, and very few specialists do.
Rancho Penasquitos resident Petra Wagner has three children in Healthy Families. She said they need specialty care.
"It's very scary for me to think about that I will not have the same healthcare available for my children that everybody else, and it's not the children's fault. So it's a very sad thing, actually," Wagner said.
State health officials say they'll delay the transition for kids who are unlikely to get adequate care under Medi-Cal.