Despite federal and state cutbacks in health spending, several public funding sources remain available that can offer opportunities to expand coverage at the local level.
To support the growing role of counties and local health coalitions in arranging and financing coverage for low-income Californians, the California HealthCare Foundation (CHCF) today announced the award of more than $1.2 million in grants for 15 projects across the state through its Step by Step: Local Coverage Expansion Initiative. The Foundation also awarded $3 million in one-time grants to eight community-based coverage programs for health insurance premium subsidies.
Despite federal and state cutbacks in health spending, several public funding sources remain available that can offer opportunities to expand coverage at the local level. The Step by Step initiative provides technical assistance funds for local efforts to use public funding streams to expand health insurance coverage in California to uninsured populations not eligible for public insurance programs, including children, childcare workers, and other low-wage workers.
The objectives of the initiative, now in its second year, are to:
- Lay the groundwork for improved and streamlined screening and enrollment processes of health programs;
- Identify and leverage public funding for coverage expansion; and
- Identify and share local best practices that may inform future coverage efforts and policy discussions at both state and local levels.
According to Marian Mulkey, CHCF senior program officer, “Local efforts to provide health coverage for low-income Californians not eligible for Medi-Cal or Healthy Families continue to emerge and gain traction. Technical assistance that supports planning efforts, fills gaps needed for successful implementation, or helps assess ways to streamline program enrollment can ultimately lead to new coverage options and increase the number of insured Californians.”
Grants were awarded through a competitive request-for-proposal process. This second round of funding will begin in early 2005, for a period of one year. The initiative funded three types of grants: planning grants to support activities from initial design through development of a detailed implementation plan; implementation grants to help local efforts meet specific needs associated with launching a local coverage program; and One-e-App grants to assess local requirements. One-e-App is an online application developed by CHCF, The California Endowment, and a number of local communities to automate enrollment in local expansion programs, as well as a range of other local and state health programs.
Recipients of Step by Step initiative planning grants include:
- First 5 Kings County Children & Families Commission, Planning for Children’s Coverage Expansion in Kings County
- County of Marin, Health & Human Services, Planning for Comprehensive Coverage for Marin's Children
- Mendocino County Department of Public Health, Mendocino Healthy Kids Project
- Merced County Department of Public Health, Merced Children's Health Initiative
- San Francisco Health Plan, San Francisco Taxi Driver Coverage
- Santa Clara Family Health Foundation, Inc., Expanding Coverage to Uninsured Child Care Workers: A Regional Approach
Recipients of implementation grants include:
- Central Coast Alliance for Health, Coverage for Home Care Workers in Santa Cruz and Monterey Counties
- Children's Health Initiative of San Luis Obispo, Inc., Implementation of Healthy Kids in San Luis Obispo
- Community Health Alliance of Humboldt-Del Norte, Del Norte Children's Health Initiative: A Rural Model for Covering Kids
- First 5 Tulare County, Expansion of Health Care Coverage: Children's Initiative (funding contingent on final decision-making by Tulare coalition regarding timeline and approach)
- Fresno Metro Ministry, Fresno County Children's Health Initiative
- Santa Barbara Regional Health Authority, Inc., Crossing County Lines — A Regional Approach to a Healthy Kids Implementation
- Sonoma County Children's Health Initiative/Department of Health Services, Sonoma County Children's Health Initiative Implementation
Recipients of One-e-App grants include:
- Santa Barbara Regional Health Authority, Inc., Analysis of Requirements to Implement One-e-App
- Tulare County Health & Human Services Agency, Tulare County One-e-App Feasibility Study (funding contingent on final decision-making by Tulare County regarding timeline and approach)
In addition to funding emerging local coverage expansion efforts under the Step by Step initiative, CHCF also awarded eight one-time grants totaling $3 million to subsidize the cost of health insurance premiums through established programs that have demonstrated unmet needs. According CHCF President and CEO Mark D. Smith, M.D., M.B.A., “This year, we are providing premium subsidy support to established community-based coverage programs that have secured funding to cover many Californians, but whose successful outreach and enrollment efforts have resulted in a greater demand than they can meet with their current funds.”
Recipients of premium subsidy grants include:
- Alameda Alliance for Health’s Family Care
- CaliforniaKids Healthcare Foundation’s CalKids
- Los Angeles Healthy Kids Program
- Riverside Healthy Kids Program
- San Bernardino Healthy Kids Program
- San Joaquin Healthy Kids Program
- San Mateo Healthy Kids Program
- Santa Clara Healthy Kids program
Each of these nonprofit programs has a successful record of conducting outreach and enrollment to hard-to-reach populations; ensuring continuity of care and access to a broad array of preventive, primary care, and specialty services; and overseeing the appropriateness and quality of medical care.
About the California Health Care Foundation
CHCF is dedicated to advancing meaningful, measurable improvements in the way the health care delivery system provides care to the people of California, particularly those with low incomes and those whose needs are not well served by the status quo. We work to ensure that people have access to the care they need, when they need it, at a price they can afford.
CHCF informs policymakers and industry leaders, invests in ideas and innovations, and connects with changemakers to create a more responsive, patient-centered health care system.