Partnership HealthPlan to expand into Marin, Mendocino

By May 25, 2011

Partnership HealthPlan of California, the nonprofit Medi-Cal health plan in Sonoma, Solano, Napa and Yolo counties, will expand its Medi-Cal managed care program into Marin and Mendocino counties starting July 1.

Medi-Cal, nationally known as Medicaid, is a state and federal program that provides health care to more than 6 million low-income California residents.

With the upcoming addition, PHC will soon coordinate benefits for nearly 180,000 Medi-Cal beneficiaries in six counties, offering enrolled members a medical home, coordination of care, and supplemental benefits not covered by the state’s traditional Medi-Cal program, a news release said.

Since 2010, PHC and representatives from Marin and Mendocino counties have conducted regular public meetings as a part of the planning and expansion process, the organization said. PHC’s goal has been to expand upon the existing number of medical providers willing to see Medi-Cal patients in both counties and to support the delivery of more care locally, so that when possible, residents do not need to leave their communities to seek care.

The 16,000 Medi-Cal beneficiaries in Marin and 22,000 in Mendocino will have access to a Member Services Call Center to learn more about their benefits, select a physician and have their complaints addressed. Approximately 7,000 Medi-Cal recipients will remain in the state’s traditional Medi-Cal program and can continue to see medical providers who accept Medi-Cal for payment. However, those Medi-Cal members who are enrolled in PHC will have access to substance abuse benefits, and several benefits such as audiology services and podiatry services for diabetics; services that were cut in 2009 by the state due to the ongoing economic issues that impact that state’s budget. Marin County members are represented on the PHC Governing Board by three members, and Mendocino County by three members.

The board includes representatives from the member and provider communities, all appointed by each county’s Board of Supervisors. Marin and Mendocino members also are represented on a number of advisory committees, which bring together PHC members and medical providers from various counties and programs to discuss ways PHC can improve.

“This is the culmination of several years of planning and work to improve access to quality health care for the community’s lowest-income residents,” said Jack Horn, CEO of Partnership Health Plan of California. “With this expansion, Medi-Cal recipients in Marin and Mendocino will now have access to a primary care physician, better access to specialty care, and access to health plan staff dedicated to providing quality assistance and care to all of our members.”

For more information about the expansion, PHC Medi-Cal members may call 800-863-4155. TDD/TTY users may call the California Relay Service at 800-735-2929.

Partnership HealthPlan of California began operating in 1994. For more information, visit www.partnershiphp.org.

Special to The Enterprise

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