Posted on: January 9, 2015
Written by: Coalition for Compassionate Care of California
On January 1, 2015, an important law impacting access to palliative care in California went into effect.
Senate Bill 1004 (Hernandez) requires Medi-Cal to issue guidance on the medical conditions and prognoses that make a beneficiary eligible for palliative care, and provide technical assistance to Medi-Cal managed care plans to ensure the delivery of palliative care services to Medi-Cal beneficiaries.
The Coalition for Compassionate Care of California is working directly with the California Department of Health Care Services to shape the standards by which Medi-Cal will ensure access to these services.
As it now stands, the bill may be implemented through an “All Plan Letter” from Medi-Cal that spells out the expectations of managed care plans with respect to palliative care. To the extent possible, implementation of this bill is to be done in a manner that is cost-neutral to the state.
The implementation of SB 1004 is a significant milestone for palliative care in California and a sign that our voices as palliative care advocates are being heard.
SB 1004 was supported by the Coalition for Compassionate Care of California, and inspired by a pediatric palliative care waiver which provides access to concurrent hospice and curative care for pediatric Medi-Cal beneficiaries.
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Judy Thomas, JD, is executive director of the Coalition for Compassionate Care of California. Follow her on Twitter at @JudyThomasJD.
Creative Commons Image courtesy of mmmswan on Flickr.