Earlier this year, Jill Hill went to her doctor at Chapa-De Indian Health in Grass Valley, a rural area east of Sacramento. She had been experiencing a prolonged depression, and that day she told him, “I just can’t seem to pull myself out of it.”
Like a lot of Americans, Hill’s family had struggled through the Great Recession. Five years later, her husband passed away. After enjoying a middle-class lifestyle most of her life, she found herself widowed and on Medi-Cal. She hadn’t been able to get counseling due, in large part, to the shortage of mental health professionals serving those on Medi-Cal in Grass Valley.
But not long after that visit, Hill started getting the care she needed through telehealth. Chapa-De is one of nine community health centers participating in the California Health Care Foundation’s Sustainable Models of Telehealth in the Safety Net initiative. Hill now goes to Chapa-De every Wednesday to talk live via video with a counselor in Sacramento.
The subsequent turnaround in her mental health and well-being exemplifies why CHCF invests in spreading telehealth in the safety net. Watch Hill tell the story in her own words:
I hope you’ll share her story as an example of the power of telehealth to connect Californians to the care they need, especially in rural areas.
Christopher Perrone is director of CHCF’s Improving Access team, which works to improve access to coverage and care for low-income Californians. Chris was previously director of the foundation’s Health Reform and Public Programs initiative, where he led efforts to improve the policies and practices that shape Medi-Cal and other publicly funded health care programs, and to promote greater transparency and accountability within these programs.
Prior to joining CHCF, Chris served as director of planning for the Massachusetts Division of Medical Assistance. He was the first external recipient of the Globe Award, given by the Office of Strategic Planning at HCFA (now CMS), for his work to improve the delivery and financing of acute and long-term care services for low-income seniors. He has also held positions with The Lewin Group, the American Psychological Association, and the Center for Health Policy Studies at Georgetown University. Chris received a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley, and a master’s degree in public policy from Harvard University.