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Why mental health providers say Medi-Cal’s latest reform may force them to cut services

The new system pays more for behavioral health providers with advanced degrees or certifications. The goal, like much of CalAIM’s changes, is to incentivize providers to produce better outcomes at a lower cost. But community providers contend that the resulting system undervalues the lived experience of someone like Garcia Williams.

“What was disheartening is the rate for someone with lived experience is significantly lower than someone with other roles,” Manners said. “Many times it is the person with lived experience that keeps the family engaged. They are the ones who listen and who have walked in their shoes.”

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