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Hundreds of thousands face immediate Medi-Cal termination due to state failure (Español/中國的)

Español | 中國的


By Randy Bunnao, communications director at Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Los Angeles

As many as 200,000 Medi-Cal recipients will be shocked to learn they are losing their health care benefits at the end of this month. In Los Angeles County alone, close to 100,000 Medi-Cal families received or will receive termination notices. The notices will be the first of several waves of terminations by the state, which is moving to push people off Medi-Cal because they didn't complete renewal forms.

But many of those being terminated had no way of knowing they had to complete the forms, which the state for the first time this year failed to translate into the primary languages spoken by many Californians. The state’s renewal forms—already some of the most confusing in the nation—were incomprehensible to many recipients who were used to getting the forms in their language.

Over 40 percent of Medi-Cal beneficiaries identify a primary language other than English. “It’s a serious language access issue. The state is obligated to provide language access services to these communities,” said Doreena Wong, director of the Health Access Project at Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles. Some of the languages where translations are required by law include Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Tagalog, Hmong, Cambodian, Arabic, and Farsi.

“State officials are moving forward with the terminations even though they know many of these recipients remain eligible for Medi-Cal,” said Cori Racela, an attorney with Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles County (NLS). “The sheer number of imminent terminations threatens to undermine the progress we’ve made expanding benefits under Obamacare.”

Advancing Justice-LA, NLS, the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles (LAFLA), and other legal groups sued the state on Nov. 17 to halt the terminations. Longstanding state and federal laws clearly state California cannot cut Medi-Cal benefits without first determining a recipient is no longer eligible. In order to prevent eligible beneficiaries from losing their Medi-Cal benefits during implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, Congress and the California Legislature supplemented those laws with additional consumer protections.

Recognizing the need for time to develop a fair and equitable process for beneficiaries to renew their benefits, the state and counties have postponed the renewal process for many months. However, this has left recipients thinking they did not need to take any action in order to keep their insurance. That, together with the state’s failure to translate notices and provide adequate interpreter services, has resulted in record low numbers of timely renewals. The state has reported that in some counties, renewal rates are as low as 50 percent, down from 80 to 60 percent in prior years. What’s more, the state’s termination notices do not include required information about the 90-day window allowing recipients to restore benefits.

“Californians who do not speak or read English still have a right to understand their Medi-Cal information fully and completely. Cutting off people’s Medi-cal insurance without first making sure they understand their rights is not only illegal but harmful to individuals and families who need critical medical services,” said Helen Tran, an attorney with NLS.

The coalition of legal groups—including Advancing Justice-LA, NLS, LAFLA, Western Center on Law and Poverty, Kirkland and Ellis LLP, and Bay Area Legal Aid—brought the lawsuit on behalf of nonprofit organizations that help people with limited-English proficiency access their health benefits. Centers like the Korean Community Center of the East Bay (KCCEB) and the Los Angeles-based Korean Resource Center (KRC), whose community members never got renewal forms in their own language and have found the state’s interpreter services to be inadequate.

“Many of our partners who work with limited English proficient populations, including KRC and KCCEB, have experienced cultural and linguistic barriers when accessing health services. In light of these reports, we call on the State to do its duty to translate Medi-Cal renewal packets and termination notices into different languages,” said Joann Lee, directing attorney at LAFLA.

“Given our own limited staff capacity, we will not be able to absorb the additional need for assistance once Medi-Cal terminations begin,” said June Lee, the Korean Community Center’s executive director. “If these terminations move forward, many people will be left without access to crucial health services.”

Korean Resource Center Executive Director Hee Joo Yoon stated, “Fundamental rights should not be infringed based on language. This is especially true for recipients of Medi-Cal, which is the lifeline for many low- income individuals.” Explaining the need for litigation, Yoon continued, “With such a significant number affected in our communities, the state’s refusal to act must be stopped.”

While the court did not grant an emergency order to halt the terminations, the issue will be heard by a judge on Dec. 9. People receiving termination notices who need assistance should contact their local legal aid program at (888) 804-3536.

People who need assistance in specific languages can also contact the following numbers:

Spanish and English:Advancing Justice-LA: (888) 349-9695 LAFLA: (800) 399-4529NLS: (800) 896-3202

Chinese (Mandarin and Cantonese):Advancing Justice-LA: (800) 520-2356LAFLA: (323) 801-7912 or (800) 520-2356

Korean: Advancing Justice-LA: (800) 867-3640LAFLA: (323) 801-7987Vietnamese: Advancing Justice-LA: (800) 267-7395LAFLA: (323) 801-7923 or (800) 267-7395

Cambodian/Khmer: Advancing Justice-LA: (800) 867-3126 LAFLA: (213) 640-3887 or (800) 867-3126

Thai: Advancing Justice-LA: (800) 914-9583LAFLA: (800) 914-9583Japanese: LAFLA: (323) 801-7913

OPINIÓN Hasta 200,000 beneficiarios de Medi-Cal se sorprenderán al enterarse que están perdiendo sus beneficios de cuidado de salud a fines de este mes. Solamente en el Condado de Los Ángeles, cerca de 100,000 familias con Medi-Cal recibirán notificaciones de terminación al rededor del 20 de Noviembre. Las notificaciones serán las primeras de varias olas de terminaciones por el estado, el cual se esta moviendo para empujar personas fuera de Medi-Cal por no completar el formulario de redeterminación.

Pero muchos de los que están siendo terminados no tenían forma de saber que tenían que completar los formularios, las cuales el estado fallo en traducir en los idiomas principalmente hablados por muchos Californianos. Los formularios de redeterminación del estado—ya de los más confusos en la nación—eran incomprensibles para muchos beneficiarios.

“Oficiales estatales siguen adelante con las terminaciones—en clara violación de leyes estatales y federales— aunque ellos saben que muchos de estos beneficiarios continúan siendo elegibles para Medi-Cal,” dijo Cori Racela, una abogada con Neighborhood Legal Services de Los Angeles. “El gran numero de terminaciones pone en peligro el progreso que hemos hecho a expandir los beneficios bajo Obamacare.”

Neighborhood Legal Services, junto con una coalición de grupos legales, demando al estado el lunes para detener las terminaciones. Desde hace mucho tiempo leyes estatales y federales claramente dicen que California no puede cortar los beneficios de Medi-Cal sin primero determinar que un beneficiario continuo siendo elegible. Para prevenir que beneficiarios elegibles pierdan sus beneficios de Medi-Cal durante la implementación de La Ley del Cuidado de Salud a Bajo Precio, el Congreso y la Legislatura de California reforzó esas leyes con protecciones adicionales.

El estado y condados han pospuesto el proceso de redeterminación por varios meses, llevando a beneficiarios a creer que no necesitaban tomar ninguna acción para poder mantener sus seguros. Lo que es más, las notificaciones de terminación del estado no incluyen información requerida acerca de la ventana de 90-dias permitiendo a los beneficiarios a restaurar sus beneficios.

“El estado quiere cortar la cobertura de salud critica para Californianos potencialmente elegibles sin proporcionar información y servicios en los idiomas apropiados y sin notificarlos sobre su derecho de restaurar sus beneficios después de su terminación,” dijo Claudia Menjivar, Abogada de Western Center on Law and Poverty, co-abogada en a demanda. “Estos beneficios son la diferencia entre la vida y la muerte para tanta gente.”

La coalición de grupos legales—incluyendo a la Fundación de Ayuda Legal de Los Angeles, Kirkland and Ellis LLP, Bay Area Legal Aid, y Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles—trajo la demanda de parte de organizaciones no-lucrativas que ayudan a personas con dominio limitado del Inglés a tener acceso a sus beneficios de salud. Miembros de la comunidad que buscan asistencia en el Korean Community Center de East Bay y Korean Resource Center basado en Los Angeles, nunca recibieron formularios de renovación en su propio idioma, y han encontrado que los servicios de interpretación ofrecidos por el estado son inadecuados.

“Dado a nuestra capacidad limitada de personal, no nos será posible absorber la necesidad adicional de asistencia cuando las terminaciones de Medi-Cal empiecen,” dijo June Lee, Director Ejecutivo del Korean Community Center. “Si estas terminaciones siguen adelante, mucha gente se quedara sin acceso de salud crucial.”

El reclamo de los peticionarios para ayuda de emergencia fue negado y diferido a una audiencia para el 9 de Diciembre. Personas que reciban notificaciones de terminación que necesiten asistencia deben contactar al programa de ayuda legal local al 1 (888) 804-3536.



洛杉磯— 多達200000個加州醫療保健利的持有者即將震驚的發現,其持有的白卡福利將在這個月底失去並取消。僅僅在洛杉磯縣地區就有多達100000個(Medi-Cal)-醫療保健福利持有的家庭會在11/20左右收到其福利到期終止的書面通知。這個通知書也只是州政府在福利終止程序中數個階段的第一波浪潮,緊接而置的就會是州政府迫使人民失去醫療保健福利的實質效果,只因為福利持有人並未完成福利更新的表格及申請。

事實上,許多人根本不知道他們必須填寫更新的表格,因為州政府在年初並未將更新的資訊及表格翻譯成多數加州居民所使用的首要語言(非英語)。此更新表格—已是本國最令人難以理解閱讀的表格之一—對於習慣以母語與填寫政府表格的人產生極大的不便。超過40 %的Medi -Cal受益者,其所識別的主要語言不是英語。亞裔美人司法推進聯盟的醫療促進項目(Health Access Project at Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles) 計畫負責人Doreena Wong 表示:“這是一個嚴重的語言使用接觸渠道的問題。國家有義務為這些社群提供語言使用及翻譯服務的渠道。” 法律所規定必須翻譯成的語言包括中文,韓語,越南語,菲律賓語,苗語,柬埔寨語,阿拉伯語,波斯語。

洛杉磯縣鄰里法律服務Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles County的律師Cori Racala也表示:”即使州政府官員明知許多福利持有者依然符合Medi-Cal的受惠資格,他們依然持續的進行福利終止的程序。” 即將終止之福利持有人的絕對數量將會破壞我們已取得來自於奧巴馬醫療改革下所擴大的福利進展”

洛杉磯縣鄰里法律服務 (NLS), 亞裔美人司法推進聯盟(Advancing Justice-LA) 以及洛杉磯法律援助基金會(LAFLA)連同其他的法律團體已於本周一對於州政府提起訴來暫時中止州政府終止福利的行動。長期以來,無論是州或聯邦的法律皆明文規定加州不得於尚未確定Medi-Cal福利持有人不具受惠資格的情況下終止其福利。為了防止合資格受益人從實施患者保護與平價醫療法案 (the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act),也被稱為奧巴馬醫改(Obamacare) 的過程中失去自己Medi-Cal的好處,國會和加州立法單位亦規定額外的消費者保護而為補充之立法保障。


“那些無法閱讀或說英文的加州人同樣擁有完整及完全理解 其Medi-Cal政策相關資訊的權利。在未確定持有人了解他們應有權利的情形之下終止他們的Medi-Cal醫療保險,不但非法,並且對於需要關鍵醫療服務的個人和其家庭將造成重大的損害”— 洛杉磯縣鄰里法律服務 (NLS)的律師Helen Tran如此表示。

法律團體—包括洛杉磯縣鄰里法律服務 (NLS)、法律與貧困西部中心(Western Center on Law and Poverty)、亞裔美人司法推進基金會(AAJ-LA),洛杉磯法律援助基金會(LAFLA)、柯克蘭和埃利斯律師事務所(Kirkland and Ellis LLP),以及灣區法律援助(Bay Area Legal Aid)—一同代表所有服務幫助英語能力有限者(limited-English proficiency, LEP)之非營利組織提起訴訟來保復他們的接受醫療照護的保障。對於向韓國社區中心(Korean Community Center of the East Bay, KCCEB) 以及 Los Angeles-based Korean Resource Center (KRC) 尋求協助的社區成員皆未曾收到以其主要語言為呈現的醫療福利更新申請表格。此外,由州政府提供的口譯服務亦並非充足適當。

洛杉磯法律援助基金會的(LAFLA),API部門的主管律師 Joanne Lee亦表示“和我們一樣幫助英文能力有限人群(LEP)的合作夥伴,包含括KRC和KCCEB,都在協助居民取得醫療保健福利時經歷過語言及文化壁壘所產生的障礙。有鑑於此,國家及州政府更應負起其所應負的責任,將 Medi-Cal的更新申請文件及到期終止通知書翻譯成不同的語言而後提供給人民。”

“考慮到我們自己的工作人員有限的能力,一旦Medi-Cal的終止程序開始進行,我們將不足以吸收並提供更多的幫助” 韓國社區中心的執行主任June Lee如是說。 “如果這些終止程序繼續進行,很多人會導致無法獲得關鍵的醫療衛生服務的不利結果。”

韓國資源中心(Korean Resource Center)執行主任 Hee Joo Yoon指出::”人們的基本權利不應該受到語言不同為基礎的侵犯。特別是Medi-Cal 的受惠者,這是保障低收入戶者人身健康安全的命脈。” 提及訴訟所需的資訊,Ms Yoon接著說:”在這個對我們社群影響甚鉅的情形之下,州政府的拒絕不做為必須被停止。”

雖然法院沒有給予緊急命令來停止州政府對於Medi-Cal福利到期終止程序的行動,此一議題會在12/9被法官所受理聽證。如果您有收到醫療保健到期終止的通知書而需要協助,請您聯繫當地的法律扶助團體,電話是(888) 804-3536


西班牙語及英語:Advancing Justice-LA: (888) 349-9695 LAFLA: (800) 399-4529NLS: (800) 896-3202

中文 (普通話和廣東話):Advancing Justice-LA: (800) 520-2356LAFLA: (323) 801-7912 or (800) 520-2356

韓語:Advancing Justice-LA: (800) 867-3640LAFLA: (323) 801-7987

越南語:Advancing Justice-LA: (800) 267-7395LAFLA: (323) 801-7923

柬埔寨或高棉語:  Advancing Justice-LA: (800) 867-3126 LAFLA: (213) 640-3887

泰語:Advancing Justice-LA: (800) 914-9583

日語:LAFLA: (323) 801-7913

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