Holly Mitchell Bill to Get Feds to Help Pay for Juvenile Medical Costs Clears Assembly

June 03, 2011

(Sacramento, CA) AB 396, authored by Assemblywoman Holly Mitchell, passed the Assembly with unanimous support on May 26, 2011. It directs the State Department of Health Care Services to maximize the federal government's contribution to payments for health care services provided by counties and the state to juveniles in custody.

AB 396 could save counties $10 million statewide and save the General Fund $2.5 million, said Assemblymember Mitchell, who chairs the Budget Subcommittee on Health and Human Services. Given the massive cuts to the state budget for the sake of reducing the deficit, we need Washington to pay its share of the bill for juvenile medical care.

Most minors that are taken into custody are from low-income families and would generally be eligible for Medi-Cal benefits, which are partially paid for by the federal Medicaid program. However, when juveniles are legally detained their benefits are suspended. This results in counties and the California Department of Corrections (CDCR) being burdened with the total cost of inpatient care for these minors.

AB 396 would allow counties and the CDCR to draw down federal matching funds in order to be reimbursed for the medical treatment of minors under judicial supervision who are outside of the county detention facility or the Division of Juvenile Facilities for more than 24 hours and placed in inpatient facilities for treatment of a medical condition.

AB 396 was passed by the Assembly with a 75-0 vote. The measure will now be considered by the State Senate.