UC Davis Medical Center accused of not providing primary care services to Medi-Cal patients

A coalition accused Sacramento-based UC Davis Medical Center of preventing California Medicaid patients from receiving on-site primary care services since 2015, while allowing Medi-Cal patients to receive emergency room and specialty care services, according to KCRA-3 News.

The Health Equity Action Team, the coalition accusing UC Davis of rejecting primary care services to patients covered by Medi-Cal, reportedly first spoke with hospital officials about the issue in February 2016. UC Davis officials have allegedly not responded to the group since their initial meeting, according to the report.

Nearly 442,000 residents of Sacramento County are enrolled in Medi-Cal. The three other major hospitals in the area — Oakland, Calif.-based Kaiser Permanente, San Francisco-based Dignity Health and Sacramento-based Sutter Health — all offer primary care services to Medi-Cal patients, according to the report.

In an emailed statement to Becker's Hospital Review, UC Davis Medical Center said the medical center "provide[s] its fair share of care for Medi-Cal patients," and that Medi-Cal patients made up about 37 percent of admissions, or the "single largest group of hospitalized patients at UC Davis last year."

The medical center also told Becker's the facility maintains "four managed Medi-Cal contracts, and will accept letters of agreement with all of the other health plans. In Sacramento County alone, that totals more than 400,000 Medi-Cal enrollees. Where those Medi-Cal enrollees go for care — whether it's primary or specialty care — depends on where the health plan, not UC Davis, decides to direct their enrollees."

The statement also affirmed UC Davis Medical Center's "public service mission to … [deliver] care to uninsured, underserved and indigent populations."

"Certainly, I understand as a physician who was at UC Davis, who still sees patients at a community health center, [that] there are challenges [to] taking care of Medi-Cal patients," state Sen. Richard Pan, D-Sacramento, told KCRA-3 News. "We understand there might be some issues that the university has. [But] who gets left behind? All the people who live in communities like this one[,] who can see UC Davis down the street, yet they can't get the care at that institution."

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