Designing Medi-Cal Consumer Advisory Committees


In February 2023, the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) announced the launch of the Medi-Cal Member Advisory Committee (MMAC) to give Medi-Cal enrollees an active voice, including those from historically marginalized communities. Formulate DHCS policies and programs.

Historically, Medi-Cal managed care plans (MCPs) have been required to maintain a Community Advisory Committee (CAC) to inform cultural and language services programs. To help inform MMC’s design, the Center for Healthcare Strategies sent a survey to the 23 MCPs in the region to understand their practices, learn from their experiences, and identify promising approaches. This report presents findings from the 14 MCPs that responded.

Key findings include:

composition and size. It is important to ensure that the composition of CACs reflects the Medi-Cal population and that the groups are managed in size. CAC members represent Medi-Cal enrollees from diverse backgrounds, locations, and experiences. CAC team sizes are between four and 185.

Recruitment, Onboarding and Time Limits. MCPs need a multifaceted approach to effectively recruit Medi-Cal enrollees to participate in CACs. Plans reported using (1) direct communication to enrollees and providers and community partners, (2) briefings to community-based partners, (3) member handbooks, (4) Medi-Cal member newsletters and/or direct mail, (5). ) MCP website and social media, and (6) references from current CAC members.

  • Compensation. All responding MCPs pay participating CAC members. Wages are the most popular (71%) reimbursement method for Medi-Cal enrollees among health plans, followed by travel/mileage reimbursement (50%), and gift cards and meals (43% each).
  • Meeting structure. Being consistent about meeting format, length, and wording can go a long way in supporting members and addressing their needs. Since the Covid-19 pandemic, CACs have transitioned to virtual meetings only or both physical and virtual meetings.
  • Meeting facilitation and support. Meeting materials should be easy to understand, free of jargon and acronyms, written at a sixth-grade reading level to ensure readability, and translated into the first languages ​​of CAC members. Of the MCPs that responded, 86% share accessible meeting materials at least one week before the meeting, and 93% have staff available to discuss questions and concerns before each meeting.
  • Building trust. MCPs recognize that they must earn the trust of CAC participants, and there are several ways that trust can be built immediately and strengthened over time. MCPs conveyed the importance of building meaningful relationships, establishing ground rules, and valuing members’ voices as their approach.

accompanying report, Medi-Cal Member Advisory Committee: Design recommendations for the California Department of Health Care ServicesIt presents the results of a landscape review and literature review of experiences with other types of CACs in California and other states, as well as recommendations for MMC design.

About the authors

Madeline Steward, MPH, CAPMis a program officer; Courtney Roman, MA, is a senior program officer; And Kelly Church, MPHHe is a program associate at the Center for Healthcare Strategies. The Center for Healthcare Strategies (CHCS) is a policy design and implementation partner focused on improving outcomes for Medicaid enrollees. CHCS supports partners across sectors and sectors to make care more effective, efficient and equitable for millions of people across the country.


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