CA health care patients penalized with paperwork

Health care is even more important for Californians as we go through the year-end ritual of enrolling in insurance for 2024.

CalMatters health reporter Anna B. For those families on Medi-Cal, the state insurance program for the poor, it may be even more complicated, Ibarra writes. Six months after the state restarted its health insurance eligibility process, more than 835,000 people whose Medi-Cal expired between June and October lost that coverage because of incomplete or missing paperwork.

According to a tracker from KFF (formerly The Kaiser Family Foundation), California ranks fourth worst in the nation for coverage terminations related to procedural issues. Under this category, the reasons why eligible people lose coverage vary: people are not prepared; They are unaware that the verification process has started again; They moved in and did not receive renewal alerts; Or they submitted their paperwork but the county offices may not have processed them in time.

In response, the assistant deputy director of the California Department of Health Care Services said the state is receiving assistance from the federal government to increase the number of cases that can be automatically renewed. Eligible people who lose their Medi-Cal also have a chance to re-enroll if they submit any missing information within the 90-day grace period.

To learn more about Californians losing Medi-Cal coverage, read Anas’s story.

When it comes to health care, California faces a severe shortage of nurses, and the responsibility falls partly on universities to train more to replace those who are retiring or leaving the state.

Christopher Buchanan and Jacqueline Munis of the CalMatters College Journalism Network report that private nursing schools are admitting more students each year, leaving public universities struggling to grow their nursing programs.

In 2021, 55% of the 16,600 spots in associate, bachelor’s and master’s degree nursing programs were at private institutions. According to the California Board of Registered Nursing, approximately 64,300 students applied. Private nursing programs, which can cost up to seven times more than public programs, also have three times the number of students graduating with a bachelor’s degree than their public counterparts.

Still, a leader of the California Nursing Association union warned that if public school enrollment remains stagnant and private school prices remain high, California could still lose more potential nurses to other states.

Read more about California private nursing programs in Christopher and Jacqueline’s story.

Health care includes mental health, and Governor Gavin Newsom wants to make significant changes. But almost all counties have been slow to adopt one of the biggest reforms Newsom helped push through, and he’s not happy.

As Anna and CalMatters health reporter Kristen Hwang explain, the governor signed a law in October that significantly loosened the requirements for who can be involuntarily placed in mental health treatment. Fifty-six of the state’s 58 counties have requested permission to delay the conservatorship policy until 2026, to which the governor chimed in during a Friday press conference: The state has done its job. It’s time for the counties to do their job…we can’t wait.

But county leaders argue that given the increasing number of people needing treatment, it is important to properly enforce the law. Lack of staff and funding makes it difficult to advance new legislation until they receive more guidance and secure resources for training and infrastructure.

  • Nora VargasThe chairman of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors, said in a statement to CalMatters: San Diego County will enforce (the guardianship law) in an orderly and equitable manner because these are real people and real families seeking care.

Read more about Newsom’s reaction to the rollout of Kristen and Anas’s story.

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