(Sacramento, CA) – The Joint Legislative Audit Committee (JLAC) yesterday approved on a bipartisan vote an audit of the Gold Coast Health Plan, the Medi-Cal Managed Care plan in Ventura County. The request for the audit was jointly made by Senator Jeff Stone (R-28th District) and Assemblyman Dante Acosta (R-38th District).
Senator Stone, who serves on the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review subcommittee responsible for Health and Human Services, was contacted by a number of local pharmacies in Ventura County after their reimbursements by Gold Coast Health Plan were being taken back by the Pharmacy Benefit Manager (PBM) hired to administer drug reimbursements.
“As a member of the Budget Committee and as a pharmacist, I started hearing a large number of stories of pharmacies being forced to close because of the actions taken by the PBM under contract with the Gold Coast Health Plan, and I spoke with Assemblyman Acosta who represents a large portion of Ventura County. After exploring the matter, we agreed to request an audit of the Gold Coast Health Plan,” said Senator Stone.
“There’s no question that the cost of medicine is a major concern for public health plans. It’s also no secret that our Medi-Cal population is having a more difficult time being able to find quality and affordable healthcare services – including pharmacies where they go to purchase their medications, receive consultations and basic healthcare services. When pharmacies close in mass numbers, patients suffer, and Assemblyman Acosta and I believe an audit of the Gold Coast Health Plan will help ensure patients and taxpayers are receiving the best quality care at the most affordable and reasonable price,” continued Stone.
Assemblyman Acosta, who also serves on the Joint Legislative Audit Committee, concluded by saying, “We owe it to the taxpayers and the patients of not just Ventura County but the entire State of California to make sure their public health needs are being met in a fair, efficient and effective manner. I know this audit will help ensure my Ventura County constituents who rely on Medi-Cal are able to have access to quality healthcare. That’s why I joined with Senator Stone to make the request and I’m proud it was approved on a bi-partisan basis.
Also testifying in favor of the audit was Daniel Martinez from the California Pharmacists Association. The State Auditor indicated it will take approximately five months to complete the audit once it is started later this year.