Riverside County
Medi-Cal's worst

About this project

No county in California has a worse record than Riverside County for processing Medi-Cal applications. In a recent audit, the county failed to meet deadlines for processing new applications 30.8 percent of the time, or three times the maximum allowed by federal and state law. Riverside is the only California county that has failed to meet Medi-Cal enrollment deadlines every year since the current monitoring system began in 2004. The county has been swamped with a state-high 30 percent increase in beneficiaries for Medi-Cal, the government's health program for the poor and disabled. Its struggle to handle the influx does not bode well for the state’s ability to handle a wave of new Medi-Cal applicants that will come via health reform in 2014.


No penalties for failed Medi-Cal performance

What is the penalty for failing to meet federal requirements for timely processing of Medi-Cal applications? Apparently, there is no penalty.

Riverside County: Worst Medi-Cal record in state

Pregnant and diagnosed with thyroid cancer, Karina Hernandez went to a Riverside County social services office late last summer desperate for medical care. Then she waited.

Seeking ways to improve Medi-Cal application process

If Riverside County is to make progress in enrolling Medi-Cal applicants in a timely way, it might consider the role played by Marie Padrone.

Editorial Posts

Medi-Cal Mess

Riverside County's deficient handling of health care for the poor is unacceptable. County supervisors should be asking tough questions about why the county cannot meet federal standards for handling Medi-Cal claims promptly, and demanding solutions...


John Gonzales

John Gonzales

Senior writer John Gonzales specializes in the demographics of health policy. He was most recently based in New Orleans as Southern Regional Correspondent for the Associated Press. He covered efforts to rebuild from Hurricane Katrina, as well as immigration and the shifting demographics of The South. Gonzales previously was Hispanic Affairs reporter at Newsday -- a beat that took him from New York's emerging Mexican neighborhoods, to the U.S. border region, to rural Mexican towns. His "Texas Smuggling" articles won the National Association of Hispanic Journalists best breaking news award in 2004. He was also awarded The Freedom Forum’s North American Journalist Exchange fellowship in 2001. Gonzales spent the early part of his 15-year journalism career on the staffs of The Daily Breeze and the Gardena Valley News. He is a USC Annenberg graduate, with honors, and a dual major in political science. He is also a Spanish speaker and graduate of the Los Angeles Times Minority Editorial Training Program, or METPro.

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