As an October 1 deadline approaches, counties are scrambling to prepare for a MediCal expansion that will depend largely upon County-level action. One of the challenges associated with start-up in San Joaquin County is establishing a new call center that will connect more than 30,000 residents with medical coverage through both a healthcare exchange and through public health networks.

Before the call center can go live, a location must be found and secured, outfitted with computers and phones, and then staffed with more than 40 trained employees. The cost of the call center is supposed to come entirely from MediCal, but no money has yet been identified to pay for the new facilities, equipment, or employees.

Even if the money were available today, for the County to orchestrate an opening of such a facility in five months would be next to impossible. The timeline is tight. It takes 16 weeks to train an employee to become an eligibility expert and walk individuals through the 21-page application. October 1 is 22 weeks away. Additionally, it is expected to take 70 minutes to walk residents through the application, but the State expects operators to spend 25 minutes with each caller.

The County doesn’t expect to know how much money the State will send them for the call center until the Governor’s May budget revision is released.

Read the full article at the Stockton Record.