Coalition Aims To Provide Health Coverage to 8,000 Uninsured Children in Sonoma County
Children's Health Initiative, a coalition of health care and community leaders, is using $80,000 in planning grants to launch an effort to enroll Sonoma County's 8,000 uninsured children in a health insurance plan by the end of 2004, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat reports. Dr. Mary Maddux-Gonzalez, public health officer for Sonoma County, said that the program would be modeled after similar plans in other Bay Area counties and that it would include "a full-bore effort" to ensure that all uninsured, eligible children are enrolled in Healthy Families or Medi-Cal, the Press Democrat reports. A study commissioned by the coalition found that about 66% of the county's uninsured children are eligible for Health Families or Medi-Cal; 17,000 children in Sonoma County currently are enrolled in Medi-Cal and 6,000 are enrolled in Healthy Families. As part of the program, the coalition will seek bids from insurers such as Blue Cross, Blue Shield, Kaiser Permanente and Health Net to develop a managed care plan for the remaining 33% of uninsured children who are not eligible for publicly funded health insurance programs. Maddux-Gonzalez said that funding from private businesses and in-kind assistance from clinics, hospitals and medical providers also would be needed to administer the program. The coalition intends to unveil the plan in November. The planning effort is funded by $50,000 from the California HealthCare Foundation and $30,000 from the Sonoma County Children and Families Commission (Rose, Santa Rosa Press Democrat, 2/2).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.