DHCS | CalHealthCares

Budget Update 

(Updated: 06/30/20) The Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) and Physicians for a Healthy California (PHC) are pleased to report that state funding for CalHealthCares will continue as originally planned. Due to Governor Gavin Newsom's and the state Legislature's commitment to quality health care for all Californians, the state’s 2020-21 budget continues the state-funded physician and dental loan repayment program.

(06/15/20) The state legislature has voted to protect CalHealthCares from state budget cuts. Governor Gavin Newsom will now review before signing into place, on or around June 30, 2020. This will be the final decision on funding for CalHealthCares. The California Medical Association (CMA) and the California Dental Association (CDA) have launched an updated action alert that goes directly to Governor Newsom so applicants and providers can make their voices heard!

(06/5/20) The California State Assembly has joined the Senate in support of protecting CalHealthCares from state budget cuts. The state is in the final stages of  negotiation before the budget is approved, on or around June 15, 2020. 

(06/03/20) CMA has published commentary from P. Brian Savino, M.D., MPH., FACEP arguing against the proposed budget cuts. Excerpt:

"Ending CalHealthCares would decrease access to care for hundreds of thousands of patients from low-income, rural and underserved communities, as well as punish dentists and physicians – myself included – who want to ensure all patients, regardless of income or zip code, have access to health care when they need it. I hope Governor Newsom and the state legislature consider how many lives will be damaged, ruined and in the worst cases, lost, because of their short sightedness. How much taxpayer money will be wasted when Medi-Cal patients are forced to visit the emergency room because they are unable to see a primary care physician? How many patients with preventable conditions will be forced to wait to seek care until they deteriorate, now requiring hospital admission or critical care, further straining our health care system?" Read more.

(05/29/20) The California State Senate has voted in support of protecting Proposition 56-funded programs, including CalHealthCares. The Assembly will now review the proposal before the state budget is approved, on or around June 15, 2020. 

(05/14/20) Governor Gavin Newsom has released his administration’s revised state budget proposal for 2020-2021, which is facing at least a $54 billion deficit due to COVID-19. That figure is higher than the deficit during the Great Recession, three and a half times the state’s $16 billion rainy day fund and nearly 37% of the state’s general fund.

The May Revise proposed approximately $269 million in cuts to CalHealthCares, which administers loan repayments on educational debt for California physicians and dentists who serve Medi-Cal patients. Medi-Cal serves over one-third of Californians and half of the state’s children, and the state is estimating a two million caseload increase in 2020 due to COVID-19. Over $340 million was appropriated as a one-time expenditure in 2019, and the remaining $67.1 million in 2019 awards would continue to be honored. However, should the legislature approve this proposal, the program would be eliminated.

Impacted by the proposed budget cuts? The California Medical Association (CMA) and California Dental Association (CDA) sponsored Proposition 56 to ensure Medi-Cal patients receive quality and timely health care. CMA and CDA are asking physicians and dentists to help the legislature understand the need to protect access to care for Medi-Cal patients, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Take action by visiting CMA's or by texting CMA LRP to 52886.

You can also make your voice heard on social media – please be sure to utilize #CalHealthCares and #CaBudget, as well as tag @PHCdocs, @GavinNewsom and your local state legislators.

Program Summary 

CalHealthCares administers loan repayment on educational debt for California physicians and dentists who provide care to Medi-Cal patients. It is a publicly funded program through voter-approved tobacco tax revenues (Proposition 56 in 2016) and administered by PHC.

Physician awardees are currently serving Medi-Cal patients in 38 counties across 40 specialty areas of medicine, and dental awardees are serving in 19 counties across general and pediatric dentistry. The average applicant educational debt load is over $360,000.

Learn more about our inaugural cycle:

CalHealthCares in the Media


Email or call (916) 551-2899.