Counties Win Federal Funding To Treat Uninsured Residents
State officials announced on Thursday that 10 California counties have received a combined $540 million in federal funding over the next three years for a program to provide health care services to 180,000 low-income, uninsured residents who are not eligible for public health insurance, the Contra Costa Times reports (Steffens, Contra Costa Times, 3/30).
The funding will be directed to provide services for individuals who generally seek care at emergency departments. Counties will use the funding for programs to provide preventive care services to these individuals and follow-up treatment for chronic conditions, according to the Sacramento Bee (Benson, Sacramento Bee, 3/30).
The counties must begin delivering services by Sept. 1, according to terms of the grants (Herdt, Ventura County Star, 3/30).
Sandra Shewry, director of the Department of Health Services, said the funding is intended for adults because 90% to 95% of California children are covered either privately or through public insuranceprograms (Engel, Los Angeles Times, 3/30).
Undocumented immigrants are ineligible for the programs receiving funding (Ventura County Star, 3/30).
The 10 counties were selected from among 17 applications (Ventura County Star, 3/30). Shewry said a panel of 21 judges scored the applications and awarded various amounts based on criteria such as the scope of each county's proposal (Clark, San Diego Union-Tribune, 3/30).
The specific grant amounts still are subject to federal approval (Vega, San Francisco Chronicle, 3/30).
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) in July 2006 signed legislation (SB 1448) to allocate the $540 million in federal funds (Office of the Governor press release, 3/29). The funding was negotiated in 2005 as part of the Medi-Cal hospital financing waiver renewal that increased federal matching funds for Medi-Cal by as much as $3.3 billion through 2010 (California Healthline, 6/23/05).
Federal officials under the five-year agreement agreed to make additional money available for the last three years of the deal to support new approaches for delivering care (Ventura County Star, 3/30).