KIDDIECARE: Two New Programs Unveiled
Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital in Sonoma County, along with the CaliforniaKids Health Care Foundation, "will provide health, dental and vision coverage for 200 children in the Roseland section of Santa Rosa," the Santa Rosa Press Democrat reports. The program is one of four "gearing up to care for the county's estimated 22,000 uninsured children." The children, chosen from Memorial Hospital clientele, will receive care from Primary Care Associates, a Memorial-affiliated physicians group, starting in June. "We intentionally designed [our program] for kids who we know wouldn't qualify for Healthy Families and who probably wouldn't fit into other programs," said Jo Sandersfeld, executive director of Memorial's Social Action/Advocacy program.
Others In The Works
The Press Democrat reports that other programs "in the works" include Children's Health Network, a program that began earlier this month at Lincoln School in Santa Rosa "to provide care for kindergartners through 18-year-olds." The program is primarily staffed by volunteers and is sponsored by the Sonoma County Medical Association. The Healthy Families program is a federally funded program expected to begin providing health care for California children in July, and Kaiser Permanente's K-P Cares For Kids program is scheduled to begin in September. "We're committed to fill in the gaps -- and we know there will be some -- in these other programs coming online," said Michael Koch, executive director of CaliforniaKids. "I don't think any of us feel competitive about this. There's certainly enough need out there to go around," he said. The Press Democrat reports that the number of uninsured in California is "growing faster ... than it is in other parts of the country," and about 30% -- roughly 22,000 --of the state's 73,000 uninsured people in Sonoma County are children (Lauer, 5/25).
The California Department of Health Services has selected two health care plans -- the Alameda Alliance for Health and L.A. Care -- for a new pilot project designed to improve health care services for children with serious medical conditions such as leukemia, congenital heart disease and spina bifida. As many as 27,000 Medi-Cal beneficiaries in the Los Angeles and San Francisco Bay areas who are enrolled in the California Children's Services program will be eligible for the pilot program. Under the CCS/Medi-Cal Managed Care Pilot Project, beneficiaries will have the choice of receiving all of their health care through a health care plan. Currently, CCS enrollees receive care for their serious conditions through traditional fee-for-service plans while they receive all other care from a managed care plan. State Health Director Kim Belshe said, "This project represents another step forward in our efforts to provide comprehensive, coordinated care for children who are in the Medi-Cal program." Families of children who do not choose to participate in the pilot will continue to receive coverage in the traditional manner. The program is scheduled to start as early as December.
A Family Matter
According to the state Department of Health Services, a key element of the program is the emphasis on family-centered care, which recognizes the family as the core of comprehensive services and integrates it into all aspects of health care planning to ensure that the organization and delivery of health care services meet the child's emotional, social and developmental needs. In an effort to support the development of new models for managed care services for children with special health care needs, the California Healthcare Foundation, a partner with the health services department in the project, will provide grants of up to $500,000 to the selected plans for start-up costs (release, 5/22).