California's low Medicaid reimbursement rates have led to a dearth of care for many of the state's Latino residents, and that's a violation of their civil rights, according to a complaint filed Tuesday with HHS' Office for Civil Rights (OCR).
Advocates want the OCR to order the state to raise primary-care and certain specialty-care reimbursement rates.
“By lowering reimbursement rates as Latinos have increased their use of Medi-Cal, California undermines strides recently made in expanding health access, and treats Latinos as second-class patients,” Thomas Saenz, president and general counsel of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, one of the groups behind the complaint, said in a statement.
More than 7 million Latinos are enrolled in Medi-Cal. Latinos comprised 63% of Medi-Cal enrollees in 2014, according to the complaint.
The groups filed the complaint on behalf of Analilia Jimenez Perea and her son Saul Jimenez Perea, who has cerebral palsy and is semi-paraplegic. Perea had been previously unable to secure doctors' appointments and treatment for her son, now 31, because she couldn't find doctors who would accept Medi-Cal patients.
The California Department of Health Care Services was not able to comment Tuesday afternoon.
Catha Worthman, an attorney for those bringing the complaint with Feinberg, Jackson, Worthman & Wasow, said she's not aware of any other similar complaints that have been filed in California or anywhere else in the country.