CA seeking 12-month extension of Medi-Cal waiver

In an emailed update to stakeholders, the California Department of Health Care Services announced the state is seeking a 12-month extension of its Section 1115 Medicaid waiver. The current waiver is set to expire December 31, 2020. After its expiration, DHCS had planned to launch the California Advancing and Innovating Medi-Cal (CalAIM) initiative, but the COVID-19 pandemic delayed those plans.

The full text of the email is available below:



Dear Stakeholders:

California is seeking a 12-month extension of the federal waiver under which a majority of the State’s Medicaid program, Medi-Cal, now operates.

California’s Section 1115(a) Medicaid waiver, entitled Medi-Cal 2020, was approved by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on December 30, 2015, and is effective through December 31, 2020. Following the end of the waiver period, DHCS intended to launch California Advancing and Innovating Medi-Cal (CalAIM), a multi-year initiative to implement overarching policy changes across all Medi-Cal delivery systems. However, the COVID-19 public health emergency has greatly impacted all aspects of California’s health care delivery system. As a result, key partners and stakeholders, including managed care plans, providers, and counties, requested a delay in implementing CalAIM to focus on addressing the pandemic.

While the goals and objectives of CalAIM continue to be a high priority, DHCS in May 2020 officially announced the delay of CalAIM. Because of the CalAIM delay, DHCS will submit a 12-month Section 1115 waiver extension request to CMS to ensure that important programs authorized through Medi-Cal 2020 continue and are eventually transitioned under CalAIM. The proposed Medi-Cal 2020 12-month extension request is available on the DHCS website.

Also, in coordination with the Medi-Cal 2020 12-month extension request, DHCS intends to submit a 12-month extension request for the existing 1915(b) Specialty Mental Health Services Waiver to align the terms of the waivers.

DHCS will host public hearings via webinar to solicit public comments:

  • Wednesday, July 29, 2020 – DHCS Tribal and Designees of Indian Health Programs
  • Friday, August 7, 2020 – First Public Hearing
    • 3:30 p.m. – 5 p.m.
    • Register here
  • Monday, August 10, 2020 – Second Public Hearing
    • 2 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
    • Register here

Stakeholders are also invited to submit written comments to or to the physical address listed below through August 21, 2020.

Department of Health Care Services
Director’s Office
Attn: Oleg Istratiy & Angeli Lee
P.O. Box 997413, MS 0000
Sacramento, California 95899-7417

For more information about the public review and comment process, please review the instructions outlined in this public notice posted on July 22, 2020.

Thank you,