California Optometric Association Commends Restoration of Eyeglass Benefit in Medi-Cal Program

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SACRAMENTO, Calif.—The California Optometric Association(COA) has noted that as part of the state’s “strong commitment to strengthening the Medi-Cal program” eyeglass benefits for Medi-Cal recipients have been restored, and the association also noted that it will continue in 2020 to advocate for a Medi-Cal reimbursement rate increase for optometrists practicing in the state. “California’s rate is among the lowest in the nation,” a COA official told VMAIL. “We will be advocating for the rate increase again this year.”

In a separate statement, COA president Ronald G. Seger OD, FAAO, commended California Gov. Gavin Newsom for the new 2020-2021 state budget and the Medi-Cal changes. “Optometrists of California applaud Governor Newsom’s strong commitment to strengthening the Medi-Cal program through this year’s budget process,” Seger said.

“We look forward to lending our expertise as frontline vision and health care providers as the budget process and funding for Medi-Cal moves forward. Bringing Medi-Cal provider rates up from near-worst in the nation is essential to meet our state’s goal of quality eye and health care for all Californians.”

California, during budget issues in 2007, cut the eyeglass benefit from the Medi-Cal program, Kristine Shultz, COA’s government affairs director, told VMAIL. Contact lenses are not covered by Medi-Cal, she said.

No other changes to the Medi-Cal program related to eyecare and eyewear were included in the 2020-2021 budget, she added. A link to the codes ECPs can use to access the restored benefit and other details is available here: http://files.medi-cal.ca.gov/pubsdoco/newsroom/newsroom_30050.asp

“California’s optometrists look forward to expanding our efforts to reduce the costly and potentially deadly consequences of untreated, chronic disease, such as glaucoma, macular degeneration and diabetes, through earlier detection and through greater integration of eye health care for all patients in our great state,” Seger added.

The California Optometric Association is an organization of doctors of optometry statewide working to assure quality health care for all Californians, according to its statement.