The 2012-13 Budget: Integrating Care for Seniors and Persons With Disabilities
February 17, 2012
California’s system for providing health and social services to low-income seniors and persons with disabilities (SPDs) receiving Medicare and/or Medi-Cal is not coordinated. This lack of care coordination may lead to SPDs being unnecessarily hospitalized or placed in skilled nursing facilities rather than remaining in their own homes—resulting in poor outcomes for recipients and higher costs for the federal and state governments. As part of the 2012-13 budget, the Governor attempts to address this issue by proposing to integrate health and social services into managed care for most SPDs. In this report, we provide background information on the Medi-Cal and Medicare Programs and describe recent federal and state legislation to address fragmented care delivery. We discuss the potential merits of the Governor’s proposal, but raise several implementation issues and concerns. Finally, we make recommendations that encourage care coordination for SPDs by first completing and evaluating a currently authorized integrated care demonstration project in four counties rather than expanding the demonstration statewide as proposed by the Governor— an action that we think is premature. We also encourage the consideration of other ways to test the integration of benefits for SPDs.