California Endowment Announces $16M Spending Plan for Migrant Health Initiative
The California Endowment yesterday announced that it has determined how to spend $16 million in grants aimed at improving health care for the state's migrant farmworkers, the Sacramento Bee reports. The $16 million is the first phase of a five-year, $50 million farmworker health initiative that was announced in March to coincide with a visit by Mexican President Vicente Fox. The initiative stems from a survey conducted by the California Institute for Rural Studies that showed nearly 70% of the state's 971 migrant farmworkers lack health insurance. Endowment officials said they would spend the "bulk" of the funds on "programs that promise an immediate expansion of services to farmworkers" (Bazar, Sacramento Bee, 8/22). Of the $16 million, $10 million will go to community-based organizations, such as rural medical clinics, that are already providing services to farmworkers. Grants of $100,000 to $250,000 will be available to those organizations for one- to two-year periods. One of the grant program's "main goals" is to break down barriers to health care services by extending clinic hours in the evenings and weekends.
Endowment officials announced some early grant recipients yesterday, including Radio Bilingue, which will receive $505,000 over the next year to create a health awareness campaign aimed at Spanish-speaking farmworkers, and Organizacion en California de Lideres Campesinas Inc., a statewide organization for Latina farmworkers, which will receive $900,000. The endowment will also provide a one-year, $500,000 grant to a cooperative effort between California and Mexico to identify health care concerns related to border migration and to "foster better communication between physicians in both countries." In addition, the endowment will give $3 million in grants to statewide organizations that advocate farmworker health (Maxwell, Fresno Bee, 8/22). California Endowment CEO Robert Ross said, "Never has the need to improve the health conditions of these workers been more critical. ... There is a need for immediate relief. We heard that loud and clear" (Herdt, Ventura County Star, 8/22). Sen. Deborah Ortiz (D-Sacramento) added, "Only recently have the poor health, living and working conditions of the state's agricultural workers received public attention. Achieving significant improvement, however, requires a long term, comprehensive plan that's going to take years of commitment, and this is the beginning of that" (Sacramento Bee, 8/22).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.