Medi-Cal Pharmacy (Rx) Update – Rejection Code 816

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Date: December 1, 2022
To: Health Plan of San Joaquin (HPSJ) Practitioners and Facilities
From: Health Plan of San Joaquin (HPSJ)
Type: Informational/Educational
Subject: Medi-Cal Pharmacy (Rx) Update – REJECTION CODE 816
Business: Medi-Cal

Outpatient pharmacy benefits were transitioned to Medi-Cal Rx on 1-1-2022. Due to the benefit transitioning, some medications are paid for by Medi-Cal Rx and some are paid for by the Health Plan of San Joaquin (HPSJ). Medi-Cal Rx and HPSJ may request providers to bill specific injectable medications to Medi-Cal Rx. The Medi-Cal Rx Provider Manual also ( provides further details of medications and DME covered by Medi-Cal Rx.

In the event that a dispensing pharmacy obtains a “Reject Code 816 – Pharmacy Drug Benefit Exclusion” notification when billing to Medi-Cal Rx, the pharmacy or provider may submit a PA request to Medi-Cal Rx for consideration of an exception to bill the drug through the pharmacy benefit. If Medi-Cal Rx continues to deny coverage through the pharmacy benefit, consideration by the provider should be made to submit a PA to HPSJ for consideration of coverage under the medical benefit.

Methods to distinguish whether a medication would be billed through the Pharmacy Benefit (billed to Medi-Cal Rx), or the Medical Benefit (billed to HPSJ) are listed below and on page two of this notice.

Pharmacy Benefit – Medication is processed through a Pharmacy Benefit Manager (PBM) at a dispensing pharmacy location. This applies to the following sample pharmacy types: retail, specialty, long-term-care, mail-order, compounding, etc. If a PA is required then visit for various methods to send a PA to Medi-Cal Rx.

Medical Benefit – Medication is already currently in stock at the provider’s office (buyand-bill) or within the facility administering the medication (e.g. outpatient infusion centers). If a PA is required then send a Medical Authorization form to HPSJ –

Pharmacy Benefit (Medi-Cal Rx) Medical Benefit (HPSJ)
All Retail Pharmacies (e.g. CVS, Walgreens, independent pharmacy) Yes No
Specialty Pharmacy (e.g. Accredo, Diplomat, Optum, US Bioservices) mailing to the patient or to the provider’s office on behalf of the patient Yes No
Long-term-care pharmacy is filling the medication and sending it to the Skilled Nursing Facility Yes No
Provider or Facility already purchased and has the medication in their office/facility with plans for infusion or injection at their office/facility No Yes
Outpatient infusion center using medications from within their internal stock and planning for infusions at their site No Yes

For any further questions that Medi-Cal Rx is unable to assist in resolving, please contact the HPSJ Pharmacy Department at 209.461.2212 to leave a secure voicemail that will be returned within one business day.

You can also contact your Provider Services Representative or call our Customer Service Department at 1-888-936-PLAN (7526). You may also visit for online access to the documents shared.

Posted on December 1st, 2022 and last modified on September 19th, 2023.