Words To Know

Active labor: The period of time when a woman is in the three stages of giving birth and either cannot be safely transferred to another hospital before delivery or a transfer may harm the health and safety of the woman or unborn child.

Acute: A short, sudden medical condition that requires fast medical attention.

American Indian: Individual who meets the definition of “Indian” under federal law at 42 CFR section 438.14, which defines a person as an “Indian” if the person meets any of the following:

  • Is a member of a federally recognized Indian tribe,
  • Lives in an urban center and meets one or more of the following:
    • Is a member of a tribe, band, or other organized group of Indians, including those tribes, bands or groups terminated since 1940 and those recognized now or in the future by the state in which they reside, or who is a descendant in the first or second degree of any such member, or
    • Is an Eskimo or Aleut or other Alaska Native, or
    • Is considered by the Secretary of the Interior to be an Indian for any purpose, or
    • Is determined to be an Indian under regulations issued by the Secretary of the Interior, or
  • Is considered by the Secretary of the Interior to be an Indian for any purpose, or
  • Is considered by the Secretary of Health and Human Services to be an Indian for purposes of eligibility for Indian health care services, including as a California Indian, Eskimo, Aleut, or other Alaska Native

Appeal: A member’s request for L.A. Care to review and change a decision made about coverage for a requested service.

Benefits: Health care services and drugs covered under this health plan.

California Children’s Services (CCS): A Medi-Cal program that provides services for children up to age 21 with certain health conditions, diseases, or chronic health problems.

Case manager: Registered nurses or social workers who can help you understand major health problems and arrange care with your providers.

Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM): A person licensed as a registered nurse and certified as a nurse midwife by the California Board of Registered Nursing. A certified nurse midwife is allowed to attend cases of normal childbirth.

Chiropractor: A provider who treats the spine by means of manual manipulation

Chronic condition: A disease or other medical problem that cannot be completely cured or that gets worse over time or that must be treated so you do not get worse.

Clinic: A facility that members can select as a primary care provider (PCP). It can be either a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC), community clinic, Rural Health Clinic (RHC), Indian Health Care Provider (IHCP), or other primary care facility.

Community-based adult services (CBAS): Outpatient, facility-based services for skilled nursing care, social services, therapies, personal care, family and caregiver training and support, nutrition services, transportation, and other services for members who qualify.

Complaint: member’s verbal or written expression of dissatisfaction about a service covered by Medi-Cal, L.A. Care, a county mental health plan, or a Medi-Cal provider. A complaint is the same as a grievance.

Continuity of care: The ability of a plan member to keep getting Medi-Cal services from their existing out-of-network provider for up to 12 months, if the provider and L.A. Care agree.

Contract Drugs List (CDL): approved drug list for Medi-Cal Rx from which your provider may order covered drugs you need.

Coordination of benefits (COB): The process of determining which insurance coverage (Medi-Cal, Medicare, commercial insurance or other) has primary treatment and payment responsibilities for members with more than one type of health insurance coverage.

Copayment (co-pay): A payment you make, generally at the time of service, in addition to the insurer’s payment.

Coverage (covered services): Medi-Cal services for which L.A. Care is responsible for payment. Covered services are subject to the terms, conditions, limitations, and exclusions of the Medi-Cal contract and as listed in this Evidence of Coverage (EOC) and any amendments.

DHCS: The California Department of Health Care Services. This is the State office that oversees the Medi-Cal program.

Disenroll: To stop using this health plan because you no longer qualify or change to a new health plan. You must sign a form that says you no longer want to use this health plan or call HCO and disenroll by phone.

DMHC: The California Department of Managed Health Care. This is the State office that oversees managed care health plans.

Durable medical equipment (DME): Equipment that is medically necessary and ordered by your doctor or other provider. L.A. Care decides whether to rent or buy DME. Rental costs must not be more than the cost to buy.

Early and periodic screening, diagnosic, and treatment (EPSDT): EPSDT services are a benefit for Medi-Cal members under the age of 21 to help keep them healthy. Members must get the right health check-ups for their age and appropriate screenings to find health problems and treat illnesses early as well as any treatment to take care of or help the conditions that might be found in the check-ups.

Emergency medical condition: A medical or mental condition with such severe symptoms, such as active labor or severe pain, that someone with a prudent layperson’s knowledge of health and medicine could reasonably believe that not getting immediate medical care could:

  • Place your health or the health of your unborn baby in serious danger
  • Cause impairment to a body function
  • Cause a body part or organ to not work right

Emergency room care: An exam performed by a doctor or staff under direction of a doctor, as allowed by law, to find out if an emergency medical condition exists. Medically necessary services needed to make you clinically stable within the capabilities of the facility.

Emergency medical transportation: Transportation in an ambulance or emergency vehicle to an emergency room to get emergency medical care.

Enrollee: A person who is a member of a health plan and gets services through the plan.

Established patient: A patient who has an existing relationship with a provider and has gone to that provider within a specified amount of time established by the Plan.

Excluded services: Services that are not covered by the California Medi-Cal Program.

Experimental treatment: Drugs, equipment, procedures or services that are in a testing phase with laboratory or animal studies before testing in humans. Experimental services are not undergoing a clinical investigation.

Family planning services: Services to prevent or delay pregnancy.

Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC): A health center in an area that does not have many health care providers. You can get primary and preventive care at an FQHC.

Fee-For-Service (FFS) Medi-Cal: Sometimes your Medi-Cal plan does not cover services, but you can still get them through Medi-Cal FFS, such as many pharmacy services through Medi-Cal Rx.

Follow-up care: Regular doctor care to check a patient’s progress after a hospitalization or during a course of treatment.

Fraud: An intentional act to deceive or misrepresent by a person who knows the deception could result in some unauthorized benefit for the person or someone else.

Freestanding Birth Centers (FBCs): Health facilities where childbirth is planned to occur away from the pregnant woman’s residence that are licensed or otherwise approved by the state to provide prenatal labor and delivery or postpartum care and other ambulatory services that are included in the plan. These facilities are not hospitals.

Grievance: A member’s verbal or written expression of dissatisfaction about L.A. Care, a provider, or the services provided. A complaint filed with L.A. Care about a network provider is an example of a grievance.

Habilitation services and devices: Health care services that help you keep, learn or improve skills and functioning for daily living.

Health Care Options (HCO): The program that can enroll or disenroll you from the health plan.

Health care providers: Doctors and specialists such as surgeons, doctors who treat cancer, or doctors who treat special parts of the body, and who work with L.A. Care or are in the L.A. Care network. L.A. Care network providers must have a license to practice in California and give you a service L.A. Care covers.

You usually need a referral from your PCP to go to a specialist. Your PCP must get pre- approval from L.A. Care before you get care from the specialist.

You do not need a referral from your PCP for some types of service, such as family planning, emergency care, OB/GYN care, or sensitive services.

Health insurance: Insurance coverage that pays for medical and surgical expenses by repaying the insured for expenses from illness or injury or paying the care provider directly.

Home health care: Skilled nursing care and other services given at home.

Home health care providers: Providers who give you skilled nursing care and other services at home.

Hospice: Care to reduce physical, emotional, social and spiritual discomforts for a member with a terminal illness. Hospice care is available when the member has a life expectance of 6 months or less.

Hospital: A place where you get inpatient and outpatient care from doctors and nurses.

Hospital outpatient care: Medical or surgical care performed at a hospital without admission as an inpatient.

Hospitalization: Admission to a hospital for treatment as an inpatient.

Indian Health Care Provider (IHCP): A health care program operated by the Indian Health Service (IHS), an Indian Tribe, Tribal Health Program, Tribal Organization or Urban Indian Organization (UIO) as those terms are defined in Section 4 of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act (25 U.S.C. section 1603).

Inpatient care: When you have to stay the night in a hospital or other place for the medical care you need.

Intermediate care facility or home: Care provided in a long-term care facility or home that provides 24-hour residential services. Types of intermediate care facilities or homes include intermediate care facility/developmentally disabled (ICF/DD), intermediate care facility/developmentally disabled-habilitative (ICF/DDH),and intermediate care facility/developmentally disabled-nursing (ICF/DD-N).

Investigational treatment: A treatment drug, biological product or device that has successfully completed phase one of a clinical investigation approved by the FDA but that has not been approved for general use by the FDA and remains under investigation in an FDA approved clinical investigation.

Long-term care: Care in a facility for longer than the month of admission plus one month.

Managed care plan: A Medi-Cal plan that uses only certain doctors, specialists, clinics, pharmacies and hospitals for Medi-Cal recipients enrolled in that plan. L.A. Care is a managed care plan.

Medi-Cal Rx: An FFS Medi-Cal pharmacy benefit service known as “Medi-Cal Rx” that provides pharmacy benefits and services, including prescription drugs and some medical supplies to all Medi-Cal beneficiaries.

Medical home: A model of care that will provide better health care quality, improve self-management by members of their own care and reduce avoidable costs over time.

Medically necessary (or medical necessity): Medically necessary services are important services that are reasonable and protect life. The care is needed to keep patients from getting seriously ill or disabled. This care reduces severe pain by treating the disease, illness, or injury. For members under the age of 21, Medi-Cal medically necessary services include care that is needed to fix or help a physical or mental illness or condition, including substance use disorders, as set forth in Section 1396d(r) of Title 42 of the United States Code.

Medical transportation: Transportation when you cannot get to a covered medical appointment or to pick up prescriptions by car, bus, train or taxi and your provider prescribes it for you. L.A. Care pays for the lowest cost transportation for your medical needs when you need a ride to your appointment.

Medicare: The federal health insurance program for people 65 years of age or older, certain younger people with disabilities, and people with end-stage renal disease (permanent kidney failure that requires dialysis or a transplant, sometimes called ESRD).

Member: Any eligible Medi-Cal member enrolled with L.A. Care who is entitled to get covered services.

Mental health services provider: Licensed persons who provide mental health and behavioral health services to patients.

Midwifery services: Prenatal, intrapartum, and postpartum care, including family planning care for the mother and immediate care for the newborn, provided by certified nurse midwives (CNM) and licensed midwives (LM).

Network: A group of doctors, clinics, hospitals and other providers contracted with L.A. Care to provide care.

Network provider (or in-network provider): Go to “Participating provider.”

Non-covered service: A service that L.A. Care does not cover.

Non-medical transportation: Transportation when traveling to and from an appointment for a Medi-Cal covered service authorized by your provider and when picking up prescriptions and medical supplies.

Non-participating provider: A provider not in the L.A. Care network.

Other health coverage (OHC): Other health coverage (OHC) refers to private health insurance and service payers other than Medi-Cal. Services may include medical, dental, vision, pharmacy, or Medicare supplemental plans (Part C & D).

Orthotic device: A device used as a support or brace attached outside the body to support or correct a badly injured or diseased body part that is medically necessary for the medical recovery of the member.

Out-of-area services: Services while a member is anywhere outside of the service area.

Out-of-network provider: A provider who is not part of the L.A. Care network.

Outpatient care: When you do not have to stay the night in a hospital or other place for the medical care you need.

Outpatient mental health services: Outpatient services for members with mild to moderate mental health conditions including:

  • Individual or group mental health evaluation and treatment (psychotherapy)
  • Psychological testing when clinically indicated to evaluate a mental health condition
  • Outpatient services for the purposes of monitoring medication therapy
  • Psychiatric consultation
  • Outpatient laboratory, supplies and supplements

Palliative care: Care to reduce physical, emotional, social and spiritual discomforts for a member with a serious illness. Palliative care does not require the member to have a life expectancy of 6 months or less.

Participating hospital: A licensed hospital that has a contract with L.A. Care to provide services to members at the time a member gets care. The covered services that some participating hospitals might offer to members are limited by L.A. Care’s utilization review and quality assurance policies or L.A. Care’s contract with the hospital.

Participating provider (or participating doctor): A doctor, hospital or other licensed health care professional or licensed health facility, including sub-acute facilities that have a contract with L.A. Care to offer covered services to members at the time a member gets care.

Physician services: Services given by a person licensed under state law to practice medicine or osteopathy, not including services offered by doctors while you are admitted in a hospital that are charged in the hospital bill.

Plan: Go to “Managed care plan.”

Post-stabilization services: Covered services related to an emergency medical condition that are provided after a member is stabilized to keep the member stabilized. Post-stabilization care services are covered and paid for. Out-of-network hospitals might need pre-approval (prior authorization).

Pre-approval (or prior-authorization): The process by which you or your provider must request approval from L.A. Care for certain services to make sure L.A. Care will cover them. A referral is not an approval. A preapproval is the same as prior authorization.

Prescription drug coverage: Coverage for medications prescribed by a provider.

Prescription drugs: A drug that legally requires an order from a licensed provider to be dispensed, unlike over the counter (“OTC”) drugs that do not require a prescription.

Primary care: Go to “Routine care.”

Primary care provider (PCP): The licensed provider you have for most of your health care. Your PCP helps you get the care you need.

Your PCP can be a:

  • General practitioner
  • Internist
  • Pediatrician
  • Family practitioner
  • OB/GYN
  • Indian Health Care Provider (IHCP)
  • Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC)
  • Rural Health Clinic (RHC)
  • Nurse practitioner
  • Physician assistant
  • Clinic

Prior authorization (pre-approval): The process by which you or your provider must request approval from L.A. Care for certain services to ensure L.A. Care will cover them. A referral is not an approval. A prior authorization is the same as pre-approval.

Prosthetic device: An artificial device attached to the body to replace a missing body part.

Provider Directory: A list of providers in the L.A. Care network.

Psychiatric emergency medical condition: A mental disorder in which the symptoms are serious or severe enough to cause an immediate danger to yourself or others or you are immediately unable to provide for or use food, shelter or clothing due to the mental disorder.

Public health services: Health services targeted at the whole population. These include, among others, health situation analysis, health surveillance, health promotion, prevention services, infectious disease control, environmental protection and sanitation, disaster preparedness and response, and occupational health.

Qualified provider: Doctor qualified in the area of practice appropriate to treat your condition.

Reconstructive surgery: Surgery to correct or repair abnormal structures of the body to improve function or create a normal appearance to the extent possible. Abnormal structures of the body are those caused by a congenital defect, developmental abnormalities, trauma, infection, tumors, or disease.

Referral: When your PCP says you can get care from another provider. Some covered care services require a referral and pre-approval (prior authorization).

Rehabilitative and habilitative therapy services and devices: Services and devices to help people with injuries, disabilities, or chronic conditions to gain or recover mental and physical skills.

Routine care: Medically necessary services and preventive care, well child visits, or care such as routine follow-up care. The goal of routine care is to prevent health problems.

Rural Health Clinic (RHC): A health center in an area that does not have many health care providers. You can get primary and preventive care at an RHC.

Sensitive services: Services related to mental or behavioral health, sexual and reproductive health, family planning, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), HIV/AIDS, sexual assault and abortions, substance use disorder, gender affirming care and intimate partner violence.

Serious illness: A disease or condition that must be treated and could result in death.

Service area: The geographic area L.A. Care serves. This includes the county of Los Angeles.

Skilled nursing care: Covered services provided by licensed nurses, technicians or therapists during a stay in a skilled nursing facility or in a member’s home.

Skilled nursing facility: A place that gives 24-hour-a-day nursing care that only trained health professionals can give.

Specialist (or specialty doctor): A doctor who treats certain types of health care problems. For example, an orthopedic surgeon treats broken bones; an allergist treats allergies; and a cardiologist treats heart problems. In most cases, you will need a referral from your PCP to go to a specialist.

Specialty mental health services: Services for members who have mental health services needs that are
higher than a mild to moderate level of impairment.

Subacute care facility (adult or pediatric): A long-term care facility that provides comprehensive care for medically fragile persons that need special services, such as inhalation therapy, tracheotomy care, intravenous tube feeding, and complex wound management care.

Terminal illness: A medical condition that cannot be reversed and will most likely cause death within one year or less if the disease follows its natural course.

Tort recovery: When benefits are provided or will be provided to a Medi-Cal member because of an injury for which another party is liable, DHCS recovers the reasonable value of benefits provided to the member for that injury.

Triage (or screening): The evaluation of your health by a doctor or nurse who is trained to screen for the purpose of determining the urgency of your need for care.

Urgent care (or urgent services): Services provided to treat a non-emergency illness, injury or condition that requires medical care. You can get urgent care from an out-of-network provider if in-network providers are temporarily not available or accessible.