Alameda Consortium Receives $750,000 Grant to Improve Care for the Uninsured
The Alameda Health Consortium is one of 14 groups nationwide to receive a three-year grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to improve the quality of health care for the county's uninsured residents, the San Jose Mercury News reports (Duran, San Jose Mercury News, 1/31). The $750,000 award is intended to help local health groups develop programs to organize, finance and provide health care services to people without insurance (RWJF release, 1/31). The Alameda consortium, a group of 10 county not-for-profit health service programs, plans to use the funding to enroll more low-income families in already existing programs, develop additional health services for low-income residents and introduce case management for patients with drug abuse or mental health problems, consortium spokesperson Ralph Silber said. Jane Garcia, executive director of La Clinica De La Raza in Oakland, added that the grant will be combined with other funds to "organize the county's health programs for the indigent and working poor into an affordable health care system." Silber said that while the grant will help boost outreach efforts, it "won't wipe out the need" to expand public insurance programs such as Medi-Cal and Healthy Families. "The ultimate solution is to have health insurance for everybody. ... What we really need is for changes in state and federal policy to expand to make more people eligible for public insurance coverage," he said. Garcia added that because universal access to health care "is a dead issue on the national level," community-based health programs are instrumental in providing care to the uninsured (San Jose Mercury News, 1/31).