From time to time, the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) posts All Plan Letters (APLs) informing managed care plans (MCPs) of new guidelines and standards required by the state of California for Medi-Cal services. 

Blue Shield of California Promise Health Plan provides APL summaries to help our network Medi-Cal providers stay informed of the latest requirements.

 View the full text of all managed care APLs on the DHCS website

APL 22-023

Street medicine provider: Definitions and participation in managed care

Shares ways to use street medicine providers to address clinical and non-clinical needs of Medi-Cal members experiencing unsheltered homelessness.

APL 22-022

Abortion services

Summarizes Medi-Cal requirements related to abortion services.

APL 22-021

Proposition 56 behavioral health integration incentive program

Describes reporting and invoicing requirements for the Behavioral Health Integration Incentive Program funded by Proposition 56 tax income.

 Learn more about Proposition 56 payments

APL 22-020

Community-based adult services emergency remote services

Describes how remote services may be administered when a public or personal emergency prevents people from receiving services at a community-based adult services center.

 View APL 22-020 summary (PDF, 269 KB)

APL 22-019

Proposition 56 value-based payment program directed payments

Revises guidance for value-based directed payments of funds received from the California Healthcare, Research and Prevention Tobacco Tax Act of 2016 (Proposition 56).

 Learn more about Proposition 56 payments

APL 22-018

Skilled nursing facilities -- long term care benefit standardization and transition of members to managed care

Skilled nursing facilities -- long term care benefit standardization and transition of members to managed care.

 View APL 22-018 summary (PDF, 278 KB)

APL 22-017

Primary care provider site reviews: Facility site review and medical record review

Updates the requirements for conducting and reporting primary care provider site reviews, including reviews of facilities and medical records.

 View APL 22-017 summary (PDF, 412 KB)

APL 22-016

Community health worker services benefit

Outlines the qualifications for becoming a Community Health Worker (CHW), defines eligible populations for CHW services, and describes conditions where the CHW benefit is applicable.

 View APL 22-016 summary (PDF, 379 KB)

APL 22-015

Enforcement actions: Administrative and monetary sanctions

Clarifies the administrative and monetary actions DHCS may take to enforce compliance with MCP contractual provisions and applicable state and federal laws.

APL 22-014
Electronic Visit Verification implementation requirements 
Provides MCPs with directions for implementing Electronic Visit Verification, a federally mandated telephone and computer-based application that electronically verifies in-home service visits.

 View APL 22-014 summary (PDF, 335 KB)

 Read the DHCS announcement (PDF, 917 KB)

APL 22-013
Provider credentialing/re-credentialing and screening/enrollment 
Addresses MCP responsibilities for screening and enrolling providers in the Medi-Cal Program, along with obligations for credentialing and re-credentialing providers.

 View APL 22-013 summary (PDF, 344 KB)

APL 22-012

Governor’s Executive Order N-01-19, regarding transitioning Medi-Cal pharmacy benefits from managed care to Medi-Cal Rx

Clarifies changes to the administration of Medi-Cal pharmacy benefits following the executive order that transitioned responsibility for pharmacy benefits from MCPs to Medi-Cal Rx.

APL 22-011

Proposition 56 directed payments for family planning services

Designates family planning services, with dates of service on or after July 1, 2019, to receive directed payments funded by the California Healthcare, Research and Prevention Tobacco Tax Act of 2016 (Proposition 56).

 Learn more about Proposition 56 payments

APL 22-010

Cancer biomarker testing

Requires MCPs to cover medically necessary cancer biomarker testing for patients with advanced or metastatic stage 3 or 4 cancer and prohibits requiring prior authorization for these tests.

 View APL 22-010 summary (PDF, 233 KB)

APL 22-009

COVID-19 guidance for Medi-Cal managed care health plans

Shares information about the latest changes to federal and state requirements for COVID-19 testing, treatment, and prevention.

 View COVID-19 APL updates

APL 22-008

Non-emergency medical and non-medical transportation services and related travel expenses

Updates requirements MCPs must follow when managing non-emergency medical and non-medical transportation services for Medi-Cal members. 

 View APL 22-008 summary (PDF, 391 KB)

APL 22-007

California Housing and Homelessness Incentive Program

Outlines requirements MCPs must follow to qualify for payments from the Housing and Homelessness Incentive Program.

APL 22-006

Medi-Cal managed care health plan responsibilities for non-specialty mental health services

Explains MCPs’ responsibilities for providing non-specialty mental health services, along with the regulatory requirements for the Medicaid Mental Health Parity Final Rule and how MCPs should refer to and coordinate with County Mental Health Plans to provide services.

 View APL 22-006 summary (PDF, 349 KB)

APL 22-005

No wrong door for mental health services policy

Ensures that members receive timely mental health services without delay regardless of the delivery system where they seek care and that members can maintain treatment relationships with trusted providers without interruption.

 View APL 22-005 summary (PDF, 253 KB)

APL 22-004

Strategic approaches for use by managed care plans to maximize continuity of coverage as normal eligibility and enrollment operations resume

In preparation for the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency, describes strategies for helping eligible members retain Medi-Cal coverage or transition to Covered California health care plans.

 View COVID-19 APL updates

APL 22-003

Medi-Cal managed care health plan responsibility to provide services to members with eating disorders

Clarifies the responsibility of MCPs to coordinate and provide medically necessary services for members who are diagnosed with eating disorders and are currently receiving Specialty Mental Health Services from a county Mental Health Plan.

 View APL 22-003 summary (PDF, 78 KB)

APL 22-002

Alternative format selection for members with visual impairments

Requires MCPs to track and report when written materials in alternative formats (Braille, large print, audio, etc.) are requested by members with visual impairments.

 View APL 22-002 summary (PDF, 99 KB)

 APL 22-002 Provider Training Guide (PDF, 94 KB)

APL 21-018

Public and private hospital directed payment programs for state fiscal years 2017-18 and 2018-19, the bridge period, and calendar year 2021

Instructs MCPs on the payment process for hospitals in various statewide payment programs.

 View APL 21-018 summary (PDF, 113 KB)

APL 21-017

Community Supports requirements

Explains requirements for the Community Supports program (formerly called In Lieu of Services or ILOS), which apply to both Medi-Cal and Cal MediConnect providers.

 View APL 21-017 summary (PDF, 99 KB)

APL 21-016

California Advancing and Innovating Medi-Cal incentive payment program

Provides guidance on the incentive payments linked to the Enhanced Care Management (ECM) and Community Supports (In Lieu of Services [ILOS]) programs that are part of the California Advancing and Innovating Medi-Cal (Cal-AIM) initiative. The incentive program is expected to be in effect from January 1, 2022 to June 30, 2024.

 View APL 21-016 summary (PDF, 89 KB)

APL 21-015

Benefit standardization and mandatory managed care enrollment provisions of the California Advancing and Innovating Medi-Cal initiative

Standardizes managed care and fee-for-service (FFS) enrollment statewide, as part of the California Advancing and Innovating Medi-Cal (Cal-AIM) initiative. Beneficiaries in certain voluntary or excluded aid codes that are currently enrolled in Medi-Cal FFS plans will be required to enroll in a Medi-Cal managed care plan. In addition, all MCPs will be required to cover major organ transplants and institutional long-term care. Specialty mental health services will be carved out and instead covered by county health plans.

 View APL 21-015 summary (PDF, 124 KB)

APL 21-014

Alcohol and drug screening, assessment, brief interventions and referral to treatment

Explains updated requirements for administering alcohol and drug abuse screening, assessment, brief interventions, and treatment referrals to members ages eleven and older, including pregnant women.

 View APL 21-014 summary (PDF, 91 KB)

APL 21-013

Dispute resolution process between mental health plans and Medi-Cal managed care health plans

Describes how MCPs should submit a service delivery dispute to DHCS when the dispute cannot be resolved at the local level with a Mental Health Plan.

 View APL 21-013 summary (PDF, 90 KB)

APL 21-012

Enhanced Care Management requirements

As part of the CalAIM program, outlines requirements for administering the Enhanced Care Management benefit to support the needs of high-cost, high-need managed care members.

 View APL 21-012 summary (PDF, 109 KB)

APL 21-011

Grievance and appeals requirements, notice and “Your Rights” templates

Updates guidance regarding federal and state grievance and appeals requirements and includes templates for member notifications and the attachments that are sent with them.

 View APL 21-011 summary (PDF, 91 KB)

APL 21-010

Medi-Cal COVID-19 Vaccination Incentive Program

Offers incentives for MCPs to develop and implement a Vaccination Response Plan to encourage Medi-Cal members to be vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus.

 View COVID-19 APL updates

APL 21-009

Collecting social determinants of health data

Designates codes from the International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision, Clinical Modification (ICD-10-CM) list to be prioritized in the collection of social determinants of health data and encourages MCPs to use them to help support population health management.

 View APL 21-009 summary (PDF, 90 KB)

APL 21-008

Tribal Federally Qualified Health Center providers

Explains reimbursement requirements for Tribal Federally Qualified Health Centers, a new clinic provider type that Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services allows to participate in Medi-Cal.

 View APL 21-008 summary (PDF, 91 KB)

APL 21-007

Third party tort liability reporting requirements

Updates the process MCPs must follow when submitting information and copies of paid invoices or claims for covered services related to third party liability torts to DHCS.

 View APL 21-007 summary (PDF, 91 KB)

APL 21-006

Network certification requirements

Informs managed care providers about the annual network certification requirements for the contract year.

 View APL 21-006 summary (PDF, 88 KB)

APL 21-005

California Children’s Services Whole Child Model program

Provides guidance to MCPs that participate in the Whole Child Model program, including requirements for continuity of care, oversight of network adequacy standards, quality performance of providers, and routine grievance and appeal processes.

APL 21-004

Standards for determining threshold languages, nondiscrimination requirements, and language assistance services

Identifies in which languages MCPs must provide written translated member information, based on established thresholds and concentrations of language speakers, and sets standards for nondiscrimination requirements and language assistance services.

 View APL 21-004 summary (PDF, 87 KB)

APL 21-003

Medi-Cal network provider and subcontractor terminations

Outlines required procedures that must be followed when a provider or subcontractor’s contract is terminated, including notification, reporting, transition planning and continuity of care requirements.

 View APL 21-003 summary (PDF, 81 KB)

 APL 21-003 Job Aid for Member Notification of Specialist Terminations (PDF, 47 KB)

 IPA Specialist Terminations Report Template (Excel, 14 KB)


APL 21-002

Cost avoidance and post-payment recovery for other health coverage

Because state law requires that Medi-Cal be the payer of last resort, this APL provides requirements with regards to cost avoidance measures and post-payment recovery for members who have access to health coverage other than Medi-Cal.

 View APL 21-002 summary (PDF, 110 KB)

APL 20-022

COVID-19 vaccine administration

Outlines how COVID-19 vaccines will be delivered at no cost to all Medi-Cal beneficiaries and administered by DHCS and managed care plans. Includes instructions for Medi-Cal providers to bill DHCS directly for administrative-only costs, for fee-for-service reimbursement. The vaccine is provided by the government at no cost.

 View COVID-19 APL updates

APL 20-021  
Acute hospital care at home
Explains requirements for the Acute Hospital Care at Home program. Hospitals that apply for and receive waiver approval from Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) may provide approved acute care inpatient services to eligible members at home.

 View COVID-19 APL updates

APL 20-020

Governor’s executive order N-01-19, regarding transitioning Medi-Cal pharmacy benefits from managed care to Medi-Cal Rx

Provides guidance on the planned transition of Medi-Cal pharmacy benefits management to a state-run program called Medi-Cal Rx.

Although the APL states the program will launch on January 1, 2021, DHCS has since announced that Medi-Cal Rx will begin implementation on April 1, 2021.

APL 20-010 

Retracted by DHCS

APL 20-018
Ensuring access to transgender services​
Reminds managed care plans of their obligations to provide transgender services to members, including services deemed “medically necessary to treat gender dysphoria” or which “meets the statutory criteria of reconstructive surgery.”

 View APL 20-018 summary (PDF, 89 KB)

APL 20-017

Requirements for reporting managed care program data​

Requires managed care plans to report monthly program data to DHCS using standardized JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) reporting formats.

APL 20-016

Blood lead screening of young children 

Managed care plans must ensure that their network providers who perform periodic health assessments on children between the ages of six months and six years (i.e., 72 months) comply with federal and state laws and industry guidelines related to blood lead anticipatory guidance and screening.

 View APL 20-016 summary (PDF, 126 KB)

APL 20-015

State non-discrimination and language assistance requirements

Regardless of changes in federal law, California state law requires that managed care plans (MCPs) must not unlawfully discriminate, exclude people, or treat them differently because of sex, race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, ethnic group identification, age, mental disability, physical disability, medical condition, genetic information, marital status, gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation.

In addition, MCPs must continue to provide notice of their nondiscrimination policies and grievance procedures in English, and must continue to provide taglines notifying members of the availability of free language assistance services in English and in the top 16 languages spoken by individuals in California with limited English proficiency.

APL 20-014

Proposition 56 value-based payment program directed payments

Provides guidance on payment amounts and processes for applying funds from the California Healthcare, Research and Prevention Tobacco Tax Act of 2016 (Proposition 56) to value-based directed payments. These payments are to be made for specified services in the domains of prenatal and postpartum care, early childhood prevention, chronic disease management, and behavioral health care.

 Learn more about Proposition 56 payments

APL 20-013

Proposition 56 directed payment program directed payments

Specified family planning services, with dates of service on or after July 1, 2019, are designated to receive directed payments funded by the California Healthcare, Research and Prevention Tobacco Tax Act of 2016 (Proposition 56)

 Learn more about Proposition 56 payments

APL 20-012

Private duty nursing case management responsibilities for Medi-Cal eligible members under the age of 21

Clarifies that managed care plans (MCPs) must provide case management services to Medi-Cal members under the age of 21 who are receiving private duty nursing care, even for carved out services that the MCP does not cover.

 View APL 20-012 summary (PDF, 78 KB)

APL 20-011

Governor’s executive order N-55-20 in response to COVID-19

Provides DHCS with various flexibilities in support of COVID-19 mitigation efforts. Site reviews and subcontractor monitoring may be virtual, or have deadlines extended. Annual medical audits are suspended. Deadlines for Health Risk Assessments are extended.

The revision posted June 12, 2020 adds that this order also suspends all requirements outlined in APL 20-006 during the COVID-19 emergency and for an additional six months following.

The revision posted July 8, 2021 terminates the flexibilities previously extended in APL 20-011.

 View COVID-19 APL updates

APL 20-010 

Retracted by DHCS


APL 20-009

Preventing isolation of and supporting older and other at-risk individuals to stay home and stay healthy during COVID-19 efforts

Reminds providers of the need to support older and other at-risk individuals who may be isolated during the state’s COVID-19 stay-at-home campaign. Lists available public resources for food, aging and adult services, isolation, wellness checks, fraud, and Alzheimer’s support and encourages providers to share them with patients who qualify.

 View COVID-19 APL updates

APL 20-008

Mitigating health impacts of secondary stress due to the COVID-19 emergency

In consideration of the negative health outcomes the stress of the COVID-19 crisis could cause, advises MCPs to support continuity and integration of medical and behavioral health services via telehealth and other adaptations; share information with providers about disaster-responsive, trauma-informed care; and ensure providers are aware of the published signs of, and assess for, stress-related morbidity, and create responsive treatment plans. Also provides links to additional resources.

 View COVID-19 APL updates

APL 20-007

Policy guidance for community-based adult services in response to COVID-19 public health emergency

Advises community-based adult services (CBAS) providers that congregate services inside centers are not allowed during the COVID-19 public health emergency. Essential services may be provided to individuals in the center or in the home, so long as they meet safety and infection control precautions. CBAS centers are granted flexibility to reduce day-center activities and to provide CBAS temporarily alternative services telephonically, via telehealth, live virtual video conferencing, or in the home. The APL also lists specific requirements for services, staffing, authorization and reimbursement, and documentation and reporting..

 View COVID-19 APL updates
 Read the summary shared with our CBAS providers (PDF, 104 KB)

APL 20-006

Site reviews: Facility site review and medical record review

Informs Medi-Cal managed care health plans about new criteria and scoring for facility site reviews and medical record reviews. These criteria must be met by July 1, 2020.

APL 20-004

Emergency guidance for Medi-Cal managed care health plans in response to COVID-19

Outlines temporary changes to federal requirements for managed care plans (MCPs), including extended timeframe for State Fair Hearings; flexibilities for provider Medi-Cal screening and enrollment; waiving prior authorization for COVID-19 services, including screening and testing; reimbursement for COVID-19 testing; provision of care in alternative settings, hospital capacity and blanket waivers; pharmacy guidance.

Providers are advised to refer to the DHCS COVID-19 response web page for the most up-to-date information.

Additional guidance added on April 27, 2020, reminds MCPs “that they must adhere to existing contractual requirements and state and federal laws requiring MCPs to ensure their members are able to access medically necessary services in a timely manner.”

The June 8, 2020 revision adds guidelines related to well child visits and member eligibility, temporarily reinstates acetaminophen and cough/cold medicines as covered benefits, and temporarily adds coverage for services provided by Associate Clinical Social Workers and Associate Marriage and Family Therapists at Federally Qualified Health Centers and Rural Health Clinics.

 View COVID-19 APL updates

APL 20-003

Network certification requirements

Informs managed care providers about the annual network certification requirements for the contract year.

APL 20-002

Non-Contract Ground Emergency Medical Transport (GEMT) payment obligations

Specifies that the GEMT Quality Assurance Fee program, legislated by the state of California, requires that a reimbursement add-on amount be paid for GEMT services provided beginning July 1, 2019.

 Learn more about non-contract GEMT payments