CONTRA COSTA COUNTY: Groups Boost Efforts to Increase Healthy Families Enrollment
On the heels of a successful pilot program last year, officials in Contra Costa County will announce on Oct. 23 a $1 million expansion of their outreach program for Healthy Families, the Contra Costa Times reports. Last fall, Contra Costa County spent $30,000 to send information about Healthy Families, the state's CHIP, and the state's Medicaid program, Medi-Cal, to parents whose children participate in the federal free- and reduced-cost lunch program. The effort led to the enrollment of "nearly 4,000 children" in Medi-Cal and Healthy Families. The Contra Costa Times reports that as part of the yearlong expanded effort, the county will establish "Health Assistance Centers" in the western, eastern and central parts of the county "to follow up with families and help ensure that those who sign on with Medi-Cal or Healthy Families take advantage of the benefit." County officials hope to enroll an additional 10,000 children in Medi-Cal or Healthy Families. The county and state will provide funds for about two-thirds of the program's cost, and "private foundations" will pay the remainder (Sharpe, Contra Costa Times, 10/18).
L.A. County Initiatives
In Los Angeles County, L.A. Care Health Plan has announced that it will run a series of public forums in South Los Angeles, Compton and Inglewood to investigate why African-American enrollment in Healthy Families is low. Fourteen percent of African-American children in Los Angeles County lack health insurance, and only 2.8% of the county's Healthy Families enrollees are African-American. Saying the figures "shocked" her, L.A. Care community advisory board Chair Thelma Bennett said, "We knew we had to do something and we wanted to make sure the community was involved." In June, L.A. Care convened similar advisory committees in East Los Angeles and Southeast Los Angeles (L.A. Care release, 10/17). According to L.A. Care's Web site, www.lacare.org, the organization is a "non-profit, community accountable" HMO that serves more than 500,000 Los Angeles County residents in Medi-Cal and Healthy Families.