June 21, 2024
CalOptima Health’s Decision to Eliminate Safety-Net Hospitals Harms Vulnerable Patients

Hospitals throughout Southern California are reporting extremely high patient volumes – even higher than during the pandemic. Many hospitals are functioning at or beyond normal capacity

In this situation, and in fact at all times, it is imperative that health plans meet their state-imposed obligation to support the ability of their members to obtain the care they need. By excluding hospitals from their network, the burden of care shifts to remaining hospitals at a time when they are already challenged with limited emergency department and inpatient bed capacity.

In Orange County, CalOptima Health, the County Organized Health System created to operate the Medi-Cal managed care program that serves more than one in four Orange County residents, has eliminated four key safety-net hospitals from its network, effective February 5. This decision means up to 940,000 residents have fewer options for the care they deserve resulting in a devastating impact on the thousands of vulnerable and underserved CalOptima members that rely upon these hospitals.

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