Report Finds Medi-Cal Expansion Strains San Diego’s Safety Net
Thursday, July 14, 2016
Report Finds Medi-Cal Expansion Strains San Diego's Safety Net
Kenny Goldberg, health reporter, KPBS
The expansion of the Medi-Cal program has exposed some gaps in San Diego County’s safety net, according to a new analysis from the California Health Care Foundation.
San Diego's health care safety net is showing signs of strain, primarily due to the major expansion of the Medi-Cal program.
The report found that over the last two years, the number of San Diegans with Medi-Cal coverage has nearly doubled to 700,000.
“But I think the area where the San Diego safety net has faced more severe challenges have been in access to specialty care and behavioral health care," Tu said.
Some community clinics now offer access to mental health providers on site. But providers in many other specialties decline to treat Medi-Cal patients because of low reimbursement rates.
The analysis also examined the state of San Diego's hospitals and health care systems, and finds a mixed bag.
For instance, Kaiser Permanente has been making major gains in San Diego. One in five insured residents now have Kaiser coverage.
Sharp Healthcare and UC San Diego Health have also gained market share over the last couple of years, while Scripps Health has lost a bit of ground.
The report finds most of the county’s smaller independent hospitals have been losing patient volume and struggling financially.
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