CHILDREN’S HEALTH: State Awards Outreach And Education Contract
The California Department of Health Services yesterday awarded a three-and-a-half year, $89.5 million multi-pronged education and outreach contract to provide information about the importance and availability of comprehensive health benefits for low-income uninsured children throughout California. The outreach effort, to be jointly run by Runyan Saltzman & Einhorn Inc., and Hill and Knowlton Inc., comprises the first component of the Healthy Families Program signed into law last fall by Gov. Pete Wilson. Healthy Families was created to provide health coverage to approximately 580,000 children aged under age 18 whose families earn between 100% and 200% of the federal poverty level ($16,000-$32,000 for a family of four). The children in this target population are from families whose income is too high to qualify them for Medi-Cal benefits, yet too low for their parents to afford basic private or employer-backed coverage. Enrollment of children in the Healthy Families Program will begin July 1. Outreach activities by Runyon Saltzman & Einhorn/Hill and Knowlton will begin in mid-February and run through June 2001.
Time To Reach Out
According to State Health Director Kim Belshe, "With a comprehensive community, public relations and media campaign, we hope to reach eligible families with messages regarding the importance of early and ongoing prevention and primary care services for the children, and the availability of state programs." In addition to the Healthy Families outreach program, the Department of Health has retained the contract team to conduct outreach and education for its BabyCal Program, targeted to high-risk pregnant women, as well as the Medi-Cal Program, which this year will transition to managed care and relax potential barriers to children's enrollment (California Department of Health Services release, 1/28).