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California State Auditor Report Number : 2014-134

California Department of Health Care Services
Improved Monitoring of Medi-Cal Managed Care Health Plans Is Necessary to Better Ensure Access to Care

June 16, 2015 2014-134

The Governor of California
President pro Tempore of the Senate
Speaker of the Assembly
State Capitol
Sacramento, California 95814

Dear Governor and Legislative Leaders:

As requested by the Joint Legislative Audit Committee, the California State Auditor presents this audit report concerning the California Department of Health Care Services’ (Health Care Services) oversight of California Medical Assistance Program (Medi-Cal) managed care health plans (health plans).

This report concludes that Health Care Services did not verify that the provider network data it received from health plans were accurate. Therefore, it cannot ensure that the health plans it contracts with had adequate networks of providers to serve Medi-Cal beneficiaries. Health Care Services’ contracts with health plans to provide medical services to Medi-Cal beneficiaries generally require the plans, among other things, to maintain a network of primary care providers that are located within either 30 minutes or 10 miles from a member’s residence. To determine whether the health plan has an adequate provider network to meet these standards, Health Care Services receives provider network data from each of the health plans. However, for the health plans we reviewed, Health Care Services did not verify the accuracy of these data before certifying the health plans’ network adequacy during the Healthy Families Program transition to Medi-Cal and did not verify data for another health plan at the time the health plan entered the Medi-Cal program. Similarly, it does not verify the accuracy of the data it receives from health plans and that it provides to the California Department of Managed Health Care (Managed Health Care), with which it has an agreement to conduct quarterly network adequacy reviews. Furthermore, it has not ensured that Managed Health Care performed all quarterly reviews of health plans’ provider networks required pursuant to the agreement.

In addition, flaws in Health Care Services’ process for reviewing provider directories have resulted in it approving provider directories with inaccurate information. Specifically, our review of provider directories for three health plans—Anthem Blue Cross, Health Net and Partnership HealthPlan—found many errors in directories, including incorrect telephone numbers and addresses, or information about whether they were accepting new patients. However, Health Care Services’ review of these same directories had not identified these inaccuracies before it approved the directories for publication. Furthermore, we noted that thousands of calls from Medi-Cal beneficiaries seeking assistance through Health Care Services’ Medi-Cal Managed Care Office of the Ombudsman have gone unanswered. Specifically, each month between February 2014 and January 2015 an average of 12,500 calls went unanswered. Finally, Health Care Services has not performed all statutorily required annual medical audits of Medi-Cal managed care health plans to determine whether the health plans meet their beneficiaries’ needs.

Respectfully submitted,

State Auditor

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