Over the last several weeks, the First 5 Center for Children’s Policy has hosted a series of three webinars focused on Medi-Cal, managed care, and the important roles these systems play for young children. The goal of these webinars is to orient First 5s and their partners to key issues in the Medi-Cal system, and to offer them some tools to help build working relationships with their local Medi-Cal managed care plans. The series was a collaboration between the First 5 Center for Children's Policy and the Pediatrics Supporting Parents Project (PSP), led by Manatt Health, Donna Cohen Ross, and the Center for the Study of Social Policy.
The first webinar entitled, “Demystifying Medi-Cal to Support Young Children & Families,” reviewed state and federal laws that govern Medi-Cal, the Medi-Cal managed care delivery system, and best ways to partner with health plans to support young children and families. The presentation overviewed the comprehensive and preventive health care services children are entitled to under the federal Early and Periodic, Screening, Diagnostic, and Treatment (EPSDT) benefit. In addition, Tara Ficek and Tina Chinakarn shared First 5 LA’s approach to relationship building and partnership with Medi-Cal Managed Care Plans in Los Angeles County.
The second webinar, “Dyadic Care & Medi-Cal Family Therapy Benefit” discussed the importance of preventing, identifying, and treating pediatric mental health needs, and opportunities to do so through Medi-Cal. In particular the webinar outlined a new family therapy benefit in California’s Medi-Cal program and how Medi-Cal could move towards funding other models of dyadic care, or interventions that target both the child and the caregiver. Alex Briscoe from California Children’s Trust (CCT) also presented a pilot CCT is working on with San Francisco health plans and providers to finance dyadic care models like Healthy Steps through Medi-Cal in pediatric practices.
The third webinar, “Early Identification and Intervention in Medi-Cal” discussed opportunities within Medi-Cal to strengthen and expand services for young children, and highlighted Help Me Grow (HMG) partnerships with health plans in several counties. The presentations underscored the connection between Help Me Grow and services covered by EPSDT. Three counties, Alameda, Fresno and Ventura, have been working with the PSP team over the course of 2020 to strengthen the partnership between their local Help Me Grow network and their local managed care plans. The three counties described their experiences, and provided some tips for First 5s to build relationships locally.
The Pediatrics Supporting Parents Project (PSP) is exploring the possibilities within Medicaid to finance and support effective strategies to foster the social and emotional development of young children. PSP work in California, including this webinar series, is funded by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the Pritzker Children’s Initiative, and Genentech.
Alexandra Parma • Jun 19, 2020
This week California released an important new policy making family therapy a covered benefit for children in Medi-Cal. This is a significant step forward in approaching children’s health from a whole-family wellness perspective.