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AB-3118 Medically supportive food and nutrition services.(2019-2020)

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Date Published: 02/21/2020 09:00 PM


Assembly Bill
No. 3118

Introduced by Assembly Member Bonta

February 21, 2020

An act to add Section 14132.76 to the Welfare and Institutions Code, relating to Medi-Cal.


AB 3118, as introduced, Bonta. Medically supportive food and nutrition services.
Existing law provides for the Medi-Cal program, which is administered by the State Department of Health Care Services, under which qualified low-income individuals receive health care services, including enteral nutrition products, pursuant to a schedule of benefits, and subject to utilization controls, such as prior authorization. The Medi-Cal program is, in part, governed and funded by federal Medicaid program provisions. Existing law, until January 1, 2021, or as otherwise specified, requires the department to establish a 3-year pilot program in specified counties, including the Counties of Alameda and Sonoma, to provide medically tailored meals, as defined, to Medi-Cal participants with specified health conditions, such as cancer and renal disease.
This bill would expand the Medi-Cal schedule of benefits to include medically supportive food and nutrition services, such as medically tailored groceries and meals, and nutrition education. The bill would provide that the benefit include services that link a Medi-Cal beneficiary to community-based food services and transportation for accessing healthy food. The bill would require the department to implement these provisions by various means, including provider bulletins, without taking regulatory action, and would condition the implementation of these provisions to the extent permitted by federal law, the availability of federal financial participation, and the department securing federal approval.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


 Section 14132.76 is added to the Welfare and Institutions Code, immediately following Section 14132.75, to read:

 (a) To the extent funds are made available in the annual Budget Act for this purpose, medically supportive food and nutrition services are a covered benefit, subject to utilization controls, as described in Section 14133. This benefit shall include, but is not limited to, all of the following:
(1) Direct medically supportive food assistance, such as all of the following:
(A) Healthy food boxes, groceries, or meals to prevent or manage chronic disease.
(B) Healthy food vouchers and food prescriptions to prevent or manage chronic disease, including fruits and vegetables.
(C) Medically tailored groceries and meals.
(2) Nutrition education, cooking education, and behavioral coaching and counseling, when paired with direct medically supportive food assistance, as specified in paragraph (1).
(3) Services that link a Medi-Cal beneficiary to community-based food services, including food bank referrals, and application assistance for CalFresh, as specified in Chapter 10 (commencing with Section 18900) of Part 6, and the California Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, as set forth in Article 1 (commencing with Section 123275) of Chapter 1 of Part 2 of Division 106 of the Health and Safety Code.
(4) Transportation for accessing healthy food to prevent or manage chronic disease.
(b) Notwithstanding Chapter 3.5 (commencing with Section 11340) of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code, the department shall implement this section by means of a provider bulletin or similar instruction, without taking regulatory action.
(c) This section shall only be implemented to the extent permitted by federal law.
(d) This section shall be implemented only to the extent that federal financial participation is available and any necessary federal approvals have been obtained.