SAN DIEGO COUNTY: Expands Outreach Efforts To Enroll Uninsured Children
Fueled by a recent state grant, San Diego County will launch a 14-month outreach effort to boost health coverage enrollment of the region's 110,000 uninsured children, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. "If we can put a dent in that population in the next year, we will be on our way to a healthier community, and I think it is a significant shot in the arm," said Dr. Robert Ross, director of the county's Health and Human Services Agency. The county is working to enroll 20,000 children by Jan. 1, 2000, in Medi-Cal, Healthy Families or the low-cost coverage option offered by Kaiser Permanente. The new funds will support outreach efforts targeting "child-care facilities, community clinics, small business and schools," where workers will inform parents about health care programs and their children's eligibility. The outreach in two dozen area schools will focus on students that receive "free-or reduced-price lunches to see if they may be eligible for insurance coverage." The workers will also assist parents during the application process, a daunting process that "may have deterred some parents from seeking assistance." Ross commended the effort, saying, "What is unprecedented is, the county and health systems and clinics and schools all collaborating on an outreach effort. ... The fact that we have a plan and a strategy is significant." The $920,000 state grant to San Diego County was approved yesterday, as part of the $18 million state allocation to counties for outreach efforts. The county supplemented the state funds with $92,000 and plans to allot a portion of the budget "to promote the San Diego Kids Health Assurance Network, a toll-free phone number that families can call for information about health care programs" (10/13). Click here to read previous coverage of outreach efforts.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.