CHCF Awards $5 Million for Local Health Coverage Efforts

Technical assistance goes to 17 county-based coalitions; health insurance subsidy grants to six community-based programs

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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 million in grants for 17 projects across the state through its Step by Step: Local Coverage Expansion Initiative. The Foundation also awarded nearly $4 million in one-time grants to six 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 are to:

  • Support local approaches that extend coverage to uninsured Californians;
  • 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 program officer, “We expect the Initiative to foster development and implementation of local programs that otherwise could not have been launched and to lay the groundwork for streamlined program enrollment. Ultimately, funded projects will increase the number of insured Californians.”

Grants were awarded through a competitive request-for-proposal process. Funding will begin in early 2004, for a period of up to 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 unmet needs associated with launching a local coverage program; and One-e-App grants to assess local requirements. One-e-App is an online application being developed by CHCF 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.

Step by Step Initiative planning grants include:

  • American Institute for Social Justice, Inc., Los Angeles
  • California Hispanic Health Care Association, Ventura
  • Community Health Alliance of Humboldt-Del Norte, Del Norte
  • County of Sonoma, Sonoma
  • First 5 Children and Families Commission of San Luis Obispo County, San Luis Obispo
  • Fresno Metropolitan Ministry, Fresno
  • Santa Clara Family Health Foundation, Inc., Santa Clara
  • Orange County Congregation Community Organization, Orange
  • University of California, Berkeley (Statewide)

Implementation grants include:

  • Central Coast Alliance for Health, Santa Cruz
  • Santa Barbara Regional Health Authority, Inc., Santa Barbara

One-e-App grants include:

  • Community Services Planning Council, Sacramento
  • County of Marin, Health & Human Services, Marin
  • County of Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz
  • El Dorado County Public Health Department, El Dorado
  • Health Plan of San Joaquin, San Joaquin
  • San Francisco Health Plan, San Francisco

In addition to funding emerging local coverage expansion efforts under the Step by Step Initiative, CHCF also awarded six one-time grants totaling nearly $4 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.”

Premium subsidy grants include:

  • Alameda Alliance for Health Family Care Program, Alameda
  • CaliforniaKids Healthcare Foundation, Statewide
  • Riverside County Healthy Kids Program, Riverside
  • San Mateo County Healthy Kids Program, San Mateo
  • Santa Clara County Healthy Kids Program, Santa Clara
  • Solano Coalition for Better Health, Solano

Each of these nonprofit programs has established a successful record of accomplishment in conducting outreach and enrollment to hard-to-reach populations; in ensuring continuity of care and access to a broad array of preventive, primary care, and specialty services; and in overseeing appropriateness and quality of medical care.

About the California Health Care Foundation

The California Health Care Foundation 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.