CA Governor Gavin Newsom Signs State Budget that Restores Adult Podiatric Benefits to Medi-Cal Fee-for-Service

CA Governor Gavin Newsom Signs State Budget that Restores Adult Podiatric Benefits to Medi-Cal Fee-for-Service


In 2009, in the wake of the Great Recession, California lawmakers cut coverage of adult FFS podiatry along with other benefits deemed “optional” from the state’s low-income health program, Medi-Cal.

The California Podiatric Medical Association (CPMA) pushed back on the penny-wise and pound-foolish approach to dealing with the state's fiscal issues. CPMA has vigorously and repeatedly argued that providing timely access to podiatric medical care provided by podiatric physicians and surgeons could lead to early detection of such chronic diseases as diabetes, save significant money, and prevent loss of limb and life.

In the decade since adult podiatric services were cut from Medi-Cal, diabetic lower-limb amputation rates among California’s Medi-Cal population have skyrocketed. A recent UCLA study found that nearly 10 percent of adult Californians have been diagnosed with diabetes. The same study found that 46 percent of adult Californians are either prediabetic or have the disease and have yet to be diagnosed.

“Podiatric benefits play a significant role in helping to preserve the health of Medi-Cal enrollees,” said newly elected CPMA President, Adam S. Howard, DPM. “Podiatric services are incredibly important for diabetic patients. Early detection is critical to preventing chronic, debilitating issues down the road, including amputations.”

“In addition to successfully advocating for the restoration of adult podiatric benefits in Medi-Cal FFS, CPMA is continuing to advocate for its current Trailer bill - AB 678, which would streamline the reimbursement process by removing many of the impediments that DPMs face (when billing appropriately), but which are not applied to other providers,” Dr. Howard continued. “AB 678 has moved successfully through the State Assembly and is now in the Senate.”

The new funding for the restoration of podiatric services for adult Medi-Cal enrollees will be boosted further with federal Medicaid matching funds.

The policy becomes effective January 1, 2020.