California physicians advocate for Medicaid demonstration project

November 20, 2017
Area(s) of Interest: Physician Workforce 

Members of the California Medical Association (CMA) joined Congressman Jeff Denham (R-Turlock) today for a meeting with Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma to advocate for initiatives that would increase access to care for Medi-Cal patients in underserved areas, such as the Central Valley.

CMA expressed support for measures to increase the number of physician residency positions in the Central Valley and urged authorization of the Assessing Critical Care Efforts to Strengthen Services (ACCESS) Act, a Medicaid payment model demonstration in Modesto under the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation (CMMI).

“Increasing patient access to care is central to CMA’s mission,” said CMA President Theodore M. Mazer, M.D. “By making common-sense investments in the chronically underfunded Medicaid system, the ACCESS Act will improve access to care for Central Valley patients and act as a model for the rest of the state.”

The ACCESS Act would study the impact of increasing Medicaid physician payment rates to Medicare payment levels on patients’ access to primary care and specialty care physicians. The ACCESS Act aims to increase access to care in areas with a disproportionately high Medicaid population, such as California’s Central Valley, where approximately half of the population relies on Medi-Cal for health care.  

“Implementing programs like the ACCESS Act would make a big difference for patients and physicians here in the Central Valley,” said Stanislaus Medical Society President Ronald Arakelian, M.D. “With more than half of Central Valley patients relying on Medi-Cal for needed health care, it is imperative that we move forward with innovative solutions like the ACCESS Act.”

CMA also urged Administrator Verma to work with physicians to reduce the Medicare and Medicaid regulatory burdens on physicians to reduce the rate of physician burnout and improve patient access to care.

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The California Medical Association (CMA) represents the state’s physicians with more than 43,000 members in all modes of practice and specialties. CMA is dedicated to the health of all patients in California. For more information, please visit CMAocs.org, and follow CMA on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn and Instagram.


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