|Budget Issue:||Three options for reducing costs in the Drug Medi-Cal Program.|
|Program:||Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs|
|Finding or Recommendation:||We recommend the Legislature consider the following three options for reducing costs in the Drug Medi-Cal Program: 1) establish monthly co-pay for all program participants, 2) establish group counseling maximum in outpatient Drug Free Program, and 3) reduce maximum reimbursable counseling in the Narcotic Treatment Program.|
This option would establish a monthly co-payment for all Drug Medi-Cal enrollees. Each dollar of co-pay would generate about $850,000 annually. Co-pays up to $3.50 can be implemented without a federal Medicaid waiver. As part of the May revision, the administration has proposed $5.00 co-pays for other Medi-Cal benefits. Individuals cannot be denied service for failure to pay unless the state obtains a federal waiver. A $2.50 monthly co-payment would result in General Fund savings of about $2 million annually.
In the Outpatient Drug Free program, patients receive a minimum of two group counseling sessions per month. Currently, there is no upper limit. This option would place an upper limit on the number of reimbursable group counseling sessions by reducing average usage by some percentage. A 10 percent reduction in overall average usage in regular group counseling would generate estimated General Fund savings of approximately $1.5 million annually. Savings would be greater if this option were applied to the minor consent population.
In the Narcotic Treatment Program, patients receive a maximum of 200 minutes of group or individual counseling per month. This option would lower the upper limit on the number of reimbursable individual counseling sessions by reducing overall average usage by some percentage. A 10 percent reduction in average usage in regular individual counseling would generate estimated General Fund savings of approximately $1.5 million annually.
Our focus here is on options that would provide immediate General Fund savings.