CSAC Bulletin Article

Department of Healthcare Services Postpones CalAIM Implementation

April 16, 2020

In response to the statewide impacts of COVID-19, DHCS announced the postponement of the California Advancing and Innovating Medi-Cal (CalAIM) implementation activities. In addition to the postponement DHCS will request the extension to the current Medicaid Section 1115 and Section 1915(b) Specialty Mental Health waivers from the federal government.

The CalAIM package, which was intended to replace the Section 1115 and 1915(b) waivers, planned to simplify and streamline the Medi-Cal program, including county specialty mental health services, county social services eligibility functions, and initiatives focused on children, foster youth, and those who are homeless or incarcerated. DHCS will continue to seek approval for these CalAIM proposals at a later date.

As state and local governments divert their immediate attention and resources to responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, CSAC commends DHCS for postponing CalAIM and instead seeking waiver extensions. If approved by the federal government, the waiver extensions would preserve critical public hospital funding and Whole Person Care, as well as the operations of county specialty mental health plans.

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