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Trauma Informed Care

Trauma informed care is a model of care intended to promote healing and reduce risk for re-traumatization. Early identification of trauma and providing the appropriate treatment are critical tools for reducing long-term health care costs for both children and adults.  Individuals who experienced trauma in childhood are at significantly increased risk of heart diseases and diabetes compared to those who did not experience traumatic events. Research has shown that individuals who experienced several traumatic childhood events are likely to die 20 years sooner than those without these experiences. These physical health costs are in addition to the mental health and substance use disorders that often follow childhood trauma.

Proposition 56 Supplemental Payment for Trauma Screenings

Beginning January 1, 2020, the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) will provide a supplemental payment to Medi-Cal providers for trauma screenings for adults and children with full-scope Medi-Cal coverage, using Proposition 56 funds. These screenings will be billed and reimbursed in both the managed care and fee-for-service delivery systems. These payments will be in addition to the amounts paid for the office visit that accompanies the screening in fee-for-service scenarios or capitation paid by Medi-Cal managed care health plans (MCPs).

Required Provider Training

DHCS, in partnership with the California Surgeon General’s Office, will offer provider training on trauma informed care and trauma screening, beginning in the fall of 2019. Providers must complete the required training and self-attest to their completion of this training to receive the supplemental payment for trauma screening. DHCS will publish additional information on this training on this webpage.

Trauma Screening Tools

Based on stakeholder feedback from the advisory group authorized by Assembly Bill (AB) 340 (Arambula, Chapter 700, Statutes of 2017), the required trauma screening tool for children is the Bay Area Research Consortium's Pediatric ACEs and Related Life-events Screener (PEARLS) tool. There are two versions of this tool based on age - one for children, ages 1-12, and one for teens, ages 13-19. For adults, the required trauma screening tool is the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) assessment.

AB 340 required DHCS, in consultation with the California Department of Social Services and other partners, to convene an advisory working group to update, amend, or develop, if appropriate, tools and protocols for screening children for trauma as defined, within the Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnosis, and Treatment (EPSDT) benefit, as specified. In 2018, DHCS convened the advisory workgroup, which consisted of state staff, legislative staff, county mental health experts, managed care plan experts, behavioral health experts, child welfare experts, and stakeholders in Sacramento. To learn more about the AB 340 workgroup, please visit this webpage.

In January 2019, the initial workgroup concluded and submitted its recommendations to DHCS and the Legislature.


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Last modified date: 7/19/2019 4:43 PM