DHCS Announces Medi-Cal Rx Delay

This week, the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) announced it is delaying the planned go-live implementation date of April 1, 2021, for Medi-Cal Rx due to the need to review new conflict avoidance protocols submitted by the project’s contracted vendor, Magellan Health. Recall, the Medi-Cal Rx initiative seeks to transition all Medi-Cal pharmacy services from managed care to fee-for-service.

Centene Corporation in January 2021 announced its plans to acquire Magellan Health. Centene, through subsidiaries, operates managed care plans and pharmacies that participate in Medi-Cal. According to DHCS, the Centene acquisition of Magellan was unexpected and requires additional time to explore conflict avoidance protocols to ensure a division between corporate entities to protect pharmacy claims data of Medi-Cal beneficiaries and other proprietary information. Medi-Cal Rx remains a priority of the Newsom Administration, and additional information on the initiative is anticipated in May 2021.