DHCS’s draft Comprehensive Quality Strategy report now open for public comment

The California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) recently released a draft of its Comprehensive Quality Strategy (CQS) report. The new report combines and updates two reports released in 2018 that outline DHCS’s efforts to assess and improve the quality of the care and services they provide.

DHCS is California’s largest health care purchaser, funding health care services for about 13 million Medi-Cal beneficiaries. The report includes quality strategies for all beneficiaries, regardless of delivery system.


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The 118-page draft includes a review of the work being done to address quality of care such as ensuring network adequacy and availability of services, utilizing evidence-based guidelines, and supporting coordinated care. It also includes updates to the 2018 reports.

One quality update included in the draft report is the addition of “improving health equity” as an overarching goal for DHCS programs. DHCS is working to improve health equity by identifying disparities through data sharing, developing cultural competence plans, and working with partners to develop interventions to eliminate addressable health disparities.

“DHCS’ goal in this area is to ensure that all DHCS beneficiaries have access to and receive person-centered, equitable, effective, safe, timely, and efficient care and services,” reads the report.

The report identifies work in progress to address social determinants of health. DHCS plans to require managed care plans to have a population health management strategy which includes the collection of social determinants of health data.

“Included in the population health management strategy will be a data driven risk stratification process, a new standardized member assessment, collection of social determinants of health data, and the provision of in lieu of services to help address identified social needs,” reads the report.

The report also includes an update on the California Advancing and Innovating Medi-Cal (CalAIM) proposal that DHCS has developed for the upcoming waiver renewals. Part of this framework involves new investments into a statewide benefit for enhanced care management and in-lieu-of-services, as well as investments into mental health and substance use disorders services.

The report is now open for a 30-day public comment and a 35-day tribal review process. Stakeholder feedback will be incorporated in the final report which will then be submitted to CMS in early 2020.