Marquez v. Dept. of Health Care Servs.Annotate this Case
Pursuant to federal law, California’s Medi-Cal program requires beneficiaries to use other health coverage (OHC) they may have before accessing Medi-Cal benefits. The state Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) maintains a database with codes that indicate whether a Medi-Cal beneficiary has OHC and, to some extent, the scope of that coverage. The codes are available to providers when a beneficiary seeks services. Medi-Cal beneficiaries filed suit. Because DHCS allegedly permits Medi-Cal providers to refuse nonemergency services to beneficiaries with OHC, and because the codes are not always correct and the information is limited, beneficiaries may be improperly denied service and referred to other providers even when there is no OHC available for the requested service; beneficiaries may experience delays in receiving nonemergency care and may be subject to a higher copayment than permitted under Medi-Cal. Plaintiffs argued that the assignment of an OHC code should trigger notice and a hearing. The trial and appeals courts rejected their arguments. Neither Welfare and Institutions Code 10950 nor regulation 50951 nor the California Constitution requires DHCS to provide a hearing or notice when it assigns an OHC code. Plaintiffs did not establish any violation of a ministerial duty subject to enforcement by a writ of mandate.