Counties Lay Out Plans for Federal Health Care Grants
Department of Health Services Director Sandra Shewry said that county programs receiving funds through a new round of federal grants will target workers who do not have employer-sponsored coverage, the Contra Costa Times reports. Shewry said the reviewers of the grant applications favored programs that stress preventive care and disease management.
Details of some counties' programs are highlighted below.
Alameda County will use its grant to launch Alameda County Excellence, a new program that will focus on risk-reduction strategies, preventive care and healthful lifestyles, the Contra Costa Times reports. The program could enroll as many as 10,000 county residents.
Wright Lassiter, CEO of Alameda County Medical Center, said most program members would have annual incomes that do not exceed 200% of the federal poverty level, although he said county residents with incomes of as much as 300% of the poverty level will be eligible if they have high medical expenses.
Under the program, physicians and hospitals will provide more outreach services to emergency department patients with chronic diseases.
Lassiter said the program also will hire additional specialists to improve patients' access to preventive care.
The county will receive $8.2 million annually for three years.
Contra Costa County will use its grant funding to enroll as many as 12,000 more county residents in its Basic Health Care plan, the Contra Costa Times reports. The plan covers services at county health clinics and the Contra Costa Regional Medical Center in Martinez.
County residents whose incomes do not exceed 300% of the poverty level are eligible for the program. Premiums are assessed on a sliding scale, with some members receiving coverage at no cost.
The county will get $15.3 million annually for three years (Steffens, Contra Costa Times, 3/30).
Los Angeles County will expand care for residents with chronic illnesses under a federal grant announced last week, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Under the program, about 94,000 residents will be assigned case managers and will be enrolled in county or public-private clinics located near their homes or workplaces.
The county will receive $162 million over three years (Engel, Los Angeles Times, 3/30).
San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom (D) said the funding "certainly helps the overall cost" of the city's Health Access Plan, set to begin this summer, the San Francisco Chronicle reports (Vega, San Francisco Chronicle, 3/30). The program will provide health care services to San Francisco's estimated 80,000 uninsured adults.
Funding for the $200 million program is expected to come from city funds, employer contributions and member premiums.
The Golden Gate Restaurant Association has filed a lawsuit against the city seeking to block the mandatory contributions totaling about $30 million annually (Young, San Francisco Business Times, 3/29). Newsom said the new federal funding does not change the amount that businesses must contribute.
Supervisor Tom Ammiano said the funding will allow the Health Department to maintain services that were expected to be cut from the budget to help finance the Health Access Plan.
San Francisco will receive $24.3 million annually for three years (San Francisco Chronicle, 3/30).
Santa Clara County plans to create a new insurance program and enroll an estimated 10,000 county residents, the San Jose Mercury News reports. The plan will cover services at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center and clinics, as well as preventive services such as mammography and blood pressure screenings.
County officials say they still are evaluating other details of the plan.
Santa Clara County will receive $20.7 million over three years (Feder Ostrov, San Jose Mercury News, 3/30).
Ventura County plans to use its $10 million annual grant to provide services for an additional 12,000 county residents in county clinics, the Los Angeles Times reports. Members will make copayments and could face an enrollment fee for the program, called Access Coverage Enrollment (Saillant, Los Angeles Times, 3/31).
Other counties receiving grants include:
- Kern County, $30 million over three years;
- Orange County, $51 million over three years;
- San Diego County, $39 million over three years (Los Angeles Times, 3/30); and
- San Mateo County, $22.5 million over three years (San Francisco Chronicle, 3/30).