Medi-Cal Member Advisory Committee: Design Recommendations for the California Department of Health Care Services

Courtney Roman
Madeline Steward
Kelly Church
Implementation Tool
July 2023
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Recommendations to inform the design and implementation of a new Medicaid Advisory Committee (MAC), which can be adapted by other states to drive effective community engagement and improve Medicaid services.  


Effective community engagement can help inform equitable policy design, while also serving to bridge gaps in trust between health care and historically marginalized communities. State Medicaid agencies can play a significant role in facilitating this engagement, as reflected in the longstanding requirement for Medicaid agencies to operate MACs. Recently, the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) proposed regulations aimed at expanding Medicaid members' role within MACs.

In February 2023, the California Department of Health Care Services created a new Medi-Cal Member Advisory Committee (MMAC), expanding the role of member input within the agency’s broader stakeholder engagement efforts. This report highlights key recommendations that informed the design and implementation of California’s MMAC and can be adapted by other states considering changes to their MACs.


Ten core design elements are identified in the report: (1) member composition and size; (2) recruitment; (3) compensation; (4) meeting logistics; (5) meeting facilitation; (6) meeting materials; (7) building trust; (8) preparing and supporting members; (9) measuring success; and (10) sustainability. The report also highlights key pitfalls and implementation challenges that many advisory committees face, including navigating and communicating boundaries on what changes can be made and failing to provide culturally and linguistically appropriate meeting materials.  


This report presents actionable and specific recommendations that can be adapted for community advisory committees beyond a Medicaid agency context. Attention to detail is a consistent theme throughout the recommendations, with logistics, such as meeting materials and participant orientation, requiring specific attention to ensure that advisory committees are accessible and effective.

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