Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
The Truth About What Gov. Newsom Aims to Do: Walters
By admin
Published 2 years ago on
January 16, 2022

Share

 

While it deals with the stubborn COVID-19 pandemic, California is also contending with a smorgasbord of equally resilient social pathologies, including chronic illness, homelessness, poverty, drug and alcohol abuse, mental illness, and street crime.

Dan Walters

CalMatters

Opinion

State and local governments have created programs to ameliorate the effects of these maladies, but they generally operate in silos, each aimed at a particular condition without overt coordination with others, even though the persons they serve very often have multiple issues.

For example, a homeless person not only lacks shelter, but is poor and likely to have medical problems and suffer from mental illnesses, alcoholism and/or drug addiction that involves the criminal justice system.

Moreover, official approaches have largely been passive, offering sufferers opportunities to improve their lot, but, except in rare circumstances, not requiring them to cooperate.

Treat the Whole Person

The 2022-23 state budget that Gov. Gavin Newsom proposed last week signals that the state will begin approaching chronic social problems differently, integrating services with the goal of “whole person care,” intervening more aggressively and, in some cases, taking charge of those whose lives are out of control.

The centerpiece of this new approach is called “California Advancing and Innovating Medi-Cal” or CalAIM for short, which Newsom celebrated as a “once-in-a-generation opportunity to completely transform the (Medi-Cal) system in California” when he signed enabling legislation.

Medi-Cal, California’s medical care system for the poor, has 14-plus million enrollees, more than a third of the state’s residents.

CalAIM is described in the budget as “a framework that encompasses a broad-based delivery system, program, and payment reform across the Medi-Cal program (that) recognizes the opportunity to move the whole person care approach that integrates health care and other social determinants of health, to a statewide level with a clear focus on improving health and reducing health disparities and inequities, including improving and expanding behavioral health care.”

Californians With Multiple Chronic Problems

“Past research indicates that the highest‑cost (Medi-Cal) enrollees typically are being treated for multiple chronic conditions (such as diabetes or heart failure) and often have mental health or substance use disorders,” the Legislature’s budget advisor, Gabe Petek, says in one analysis of CalAIM.

“Costs for this population often are driven by frequent hospitalizations and high prescription drug costs. In some cases, social factors like homelessness play a role in the high utilization of these enrollees.”

With Medi-Cal serving such a huge chunk of the state’s population, CalAIM could have a massive societal effect — especially since it envisions a much-expanded role. For example, insurance companies and other Medi-Cal providers will assign personal care managers for their clients, not only to monitor their medical care but to improve other aspects of their lives, such as housing and income support.

Gov. Newsom proposes to address to treat “the whole person” and not just a single challenge such as homelessness. (GV Wire/Johnny Soto)

Medi-Cal for all Released Prison Inmates?

The state’s new approach will also affect California’s criminal justice system, which has been evolving away from punishment and toward rehabilitation for the past decade. Newsom is also proposing that before being released from prison, inmates be enrolled in Medi-Cal and thus have a broader array of supportive services.

That automatic enrollment is emblematic of the more activist, or intrusive, attitude Newsom is advocating and another example could be a huge change in mental health. During his budget press conference, he hinted again that he wants to subject those with severe mental illnesses to a “conservatorship” process that could compel them to be housed and treated, rather than allow them to roam the streets.

These are huge changes of direction in medical and social services by a state that doesn’t have a positive track record of managing high-concept policies. We can only wait to see whether it works.

About the Author

Dan Walters has been a journalist for nearly 60 years, spending all but a few of those years working for California newspapers. He began his professional career in 1960, at age 16, at the Humboldt Times. For more columns by Walters, go to calmatters.org/commentary.

 

RELATED TOPICS:

DON'T MISS

How California Legislators Got More Than $1.4 Million in Travel and Gifts in 2023

DON'T MISS

‘Digital Democracy’ Project Penetrates California’s Opaque Political Processes

DON'T MISS

US Shoots Down Iran-Launched Attack Drones as Biden Team Pledges ‘Support’ for Israel

DON'T MISS

Sacramento Gave Homeless Camp a Lease as an Experiment. Here’s What Happened.

DON'T MISS

Merced Supervisors Accused of ‘Triple Crown Race’ of Failures Amid Talk of Closing Fire Stations

DON'T MISS

Teacher Appreciation Week Surprises That Educators Will Love

DON'T MISS

A Mission of Mercy, Then a Fatal Strike: How an Aid Convoy in Gaza Became Israel’s Target

DON'T MISS

Walberg Era Begins With a Charge to ‘Revolutionize’ Bulldogs Basketball

DON'T MISS

California Man Sentenced to 40 Years to Life for Fatal Freeway Shooting of 6-Year-Old Boy

DON'T MISS

16 Clovis Students Rewarded With Scholarships for Their Resilience

UP NEXT

US Shoots Down Iran-Launched Attack Drones as Biden Team Pledges ‘Support’ for Israel

UP NEXT

Sacramento Gave Homeless Camp a Lease as an Experiment. Here’s What Happened.

UP NEXT

Merced Supervisors Accused of ‘Triple Crown Race’ of Failures Amid Talk of Closing Fire Stations

UP NEXT

Teacher Appreciation Week Surprises That Educators Will Love

UP NEXT

A Mission of Mercy, Then a Fatal Strike: How an Aid Convoy in Gaza Became Israel’s Target

UP NEXT

Walberg Era Begins With a Charge to ‘Revolutionize’ Bulldogs Basketball

UP NEXT

California Man Sentenced to 40 Years to Life for Fatal Freeway Shooting of 6-Year-Old Boy

UP NEXT

16 Clovis Students Rewarded With Scholarships for Their Resilience

UP NEXT

Dr. Green Thumb’s Is Open. Sweet Flower Debuts Saturday in Fresno Cannabis Rollout.

UP NEXT

Reacher Star Alan Ritchson Calls Donald Trump a ‘Rapist’

Sacramento Gave Homeless Camp a Lease as an Experiment. Here’s What Happened.

22 hours ago

Merced Supervisors Accused of ‘Triple Crown Race’ of Failures Amid Talk of Closing Fire Stations

24 hours ago

Teacher Appreciation Week Surprises That Educators Will Love

1 day ago

A Mission of Mercy, Then a Fatal Strike: How an Aid Convoy in Gaza Became Israel’s Target

1 day ago

Walberg Era Begins With a Charge to ‘Revolutionize’ Bulldogs Basketball

2 days ago

California Man Sentenced to 40 Years to Life for Fatal Freeway Shooting of 6-Year-Old Boy

2 days ago

16 Clovis Students Rewarded With Scholarships for Their Resilience

2 days ago

Dr. Green Thumb’s Is Open. Sweet Flower Debuts Saturday in Fresno Cannabis Rollout.

2 days ago

Reacher Star Alan Ritchson Calls Donald Trump a ‘Rapist’

2 days ago

Community Leaders Call for Transparency in Fresno Superintendent Search

2 days ago

How California Legislators Got More Than $1.4 Million in Travel and Gifts in 2023

Last June, more than half of California’s lawmakers — Republicans and Democrats alike, with no particular ideological preference — attended ...

35 mins ago

35 mins ago

How California Legislators Got More Than $1.4 Million in Travel and Gifts in 2023

35 mins ago

‘Digital Democracy’ Project Penetrates California’s Opaque Political Processes

9 hours ago

US Shoots Down Iran-Launched Attack Drones as Biden Team Pledges ‘Support’ for Israel

22 hours ago

Sacramento Gave Homeless Camp a Lease as an Experiment. Here’s What Happened.

24 hours ago

Merced Supervisors Accused of ‘Triple Crown Race’ of Failures Amid Talk of Closing Fire Stations

1 day ago

Teacher Appreciation Week Surprises That Educators Will Love

1 day ago

A Mission of Mercy, Then a Fatal Strike: How an Aid Convoy in Gaza Became Israel’s Target

2 days ago

Walberg Era Begins With a Charge to ‘Revolutionize’ Bulldogs Basketball

MENU

CONNECT WITH US

Search

Send this to a friend