New law helps eligibility workers provide better services

Eligiblity Workers with Sec. Dooley

Eligiblity Workers with Secretary Dooley

SEIU Local 521 members successfully lobbied Gov. Brown to sign SB 1341 — a bill that will save taxpayer money and reduce Medi-Cal confusion.

Passage of bill signifies the end of an error

Eligibility workers have spent the last year trying to correct the heartaches and serious impacts caused by CalHEERS and the automated notices and rejections created by that system.

SEIU Local 521 Eligibility Workers joined fellow EWs from Locals 221, 721 and 1021 to highlight the problems and press for corrective action in Sacramento. Together, the SEIU “21 Locals” are making a meaningful impact on public policy for better services.

It will allow us to spend more time delivering services and less time correcting mistakes.

Specifically, SB 1341:

  • makes significant improvements to the new IT system established for Medi-Cal and Covered California by the ACA by increasing the  eligibility workers ability to manage Medi-Cal cases.
  • will provide access and control of Notices of Action (NOAs) into the SAWS system by January 2016.
  • NOAs, according to county eligibility workers from across the state, are one of the most essential case management tools used by workers to communicate with their clients.  NOAs are intended to provide clients with essential information about their case -such as information about eligibility status, any request for additional information to complete eligibility, and details on clients due process rights should they want to appeal an eligibility decision.
  • further protects Medi-Cal from privatization.  The bill codified the IT roles (county vs state) that again restate that county workers do Medi-Cal. If there is ever an attempt to privatize, this presents an additional hurdle for privatization.

“Community First can’t just be a motto. We have to live it. Winning this bill shows that as workers we want to do the job right to serve our clients, and when we stand up for something, we can make a difference.”
— Robert Padilla, Eligibility Worker SEIU Local 521

This move will also save California between $40 and $80 million dollars a year. This means more money for services going to the communities.

This win was due to our hard work and commitment to lobby in Sacramento, write letters, and make phone calls.

This is the power of having a strong and active 521 Eligibility Worker Industry Council to coordinate our fight with SEIU members from across the state. The bill faced strong opposition, but we continued to push for the right thing and won!

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