SANTA BARBARA: To Fund Prenatal Care For Illegal Immigrants
With the state on the verge of barring illegal immigrant mothers from receiving prenatal care under Medi-Cal, Santa Barbara County announced Tuesday that it has formulated an alternate plan to provide care to these women. Proceeding with the ban "would have caused turmoil for about 1,000 mothers-to-be, their families, private sector obstetricians and county medical staff" in the Santa Barbara area, as well as increased health risks and taxpayer costs, the Santa Barbara News-Press reports. Under the new proposal, the Santa Barbara Regional Health Authority, which distributes state Medi-Cal funds to local providers, will reserve $500,000 for a prenatal program. The $500,000 in extra Medi-Cal funds "comes from savings realized through managed care," and will be used to reimburse the county's Health Care Services for prenatal care it provides on a patient-by-patient basis. The "county expects demand for its prenatal care to increase 50% per year" once the state ban is enacted. Roger Heroux, director of Health Care Services, said, "Every dollar spent on immigrant prenatal care saves three dollars in citizen infant costs." In addition, he emphasized that the program would help arrest the spread of HIV/AIDS (Van de Kamp, 3/11).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.