Medi-Cal math mixed up

State agency inflated number of docs who accept the low-income coverage

Last year, according to figures from the California Medical Association, there were 104,442 licensed physicians in the state. So when the state Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) released its report saying that 109,000 doctors accept Medi-Cal, the folks at California Health Report took notice.

The DHCS is the department responsible for tracking Medi-Cal, California’s version of Medicaid, which offers health care coverage for low-income residents. In May, the department updated its list to 82,605 doctors who accept Medi-Cal, citing the fact that physicians aren’t required to report to DHCS if they’ve retired or stopped accepting Medi-Cal.

The inflated numbers have many in the medical community in an uproar, according to the Health Report, mostly because of proposed cuts to Medi-Cal reimbursements. Officials at the nonprofit California HealthCare Foundation are hoping to collaborate on a more representative list in the coming months.