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Chula Vista Medi-Cal provider rallies against new plan that serves low-income patients

Community Health Group didn't win a contract with the California Department of Health Services, which will impact 335,000 of its Medi-Cal patients.

CHULA VISTA, Calif. — A major provider for low-income patients is proposed to lose a contract with the state but not without a fight.

On Thursday, Community Health Group based in the South Bay rallied to keep serving it's 335,000 Medi-Cal patients.

“If it wasn't for Community Health Group, I wouldn't be here,” said Charles Everett, Medi-Cal patient.

Last year he survived a double lung transplant,” said Everett.

“I still have to wear a mask but it's better than being in a box,” said Everett.

He joined the Chula Vista mayor, along with doctors, patients, and some of the 350 employees at community health group rallied against the California Department of Health Care Services, decision to not contract with them as a Medi-Cal provider.

“We want to fight to continue to serve our most vulnerable populations,” said Mary Casillas Salas, Chula Vista mayor.

In August, the state announced it was restructuring its managed care plans for Medi-Cal providers.

They went from 7 to three providers, awarding Molina Healthcare, Health Net and Kaiser Permanente but excluded Community Health Group, which serves 335,000 Medi-Cal patients, more than a quarter in the county who are low-income.

“It means major disruption, given that we are the largest health plan, we've been here 40 years,” said Joseph Garcia, Community Health Group, COO.

The state estimates this will impact a half a million Medi-Cal patients in San Diego County, including Mr. Everett.

“The anxiety that comes with this, my medical plan is going to be taken away from me. The other plans I can't go to my hospital,” said Everett.

CDHS didn't give a reason as to why it left out Community Health Group, but e-mailed a link to its website about this matter that says, this is the first-ever statewide managed care plan contract and they believe this will improve standards and hold providers more accountable.

“The shocking part for us is the metric. We are the best we have the highest quality scores; we have the highest preventive services for children scores, we have the highest accessibility scores we have the biggest provider network,” said Garcia.

Community Health Group says it filed an appeal with the state.

Meanwhile Everett can't imagine what this will do to his health.

“I don't really want to think about it, I don't want to start over,” said Everett.

The state says Community Health Group has its current contract until the end of December 2023.

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