Welcome to our April "Community Pulse" newsletter; a bi-monthly publication filled with community tips, health news, and much more! 
April 2017 -  In This Issue:

* A Message from Our C.E.O.
* Member Totals for First Quarter 2017
* A Message from Our C.M.O.
* Community Events

4050 Calle Real
Santa Barbara, CA 93110

1288 Morro Street
Suite 100
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

Toll Free: (800) 421-2560
Tel: (805) 685-9525

A Message from Our C.E.O., Bob Freeman

Over the past few years, CenCal Health had the opportunity to serve thousands of new members of our health plan. We've added benefits that were not available before and we've seen improved health outcomes as a result. We are proud to be a local community health plan that has made a difference and continues to make a difference in people's lives.

With a new administration in the White House, there will be impacts on health care in the nation, in California, and here on the Central Coast. I'm neither supporting nor regretting the election's outcome as CenCal Health's CEO - that not my role. What I will do is work with our great staff, our board of directors and the provider community to best manage whatever change comes our way.

There are dozens of questions as to what comes next, and unfortunately a lack of anything but speculative answers. Repealing the Affordable Care Act in its entirety will be difficult from a practical viewpoint, as facts can be stubborn things.  Converting Medicaid (Medi-Cal in California) to block grants will also be difficult as (and make no mistake) less federal money for Medicaid will impact all states, red and blue.

That all being said, either or both of these efforts could happen. The roles of community-based health plans like ours in this instance is to outline for policy makers the factual impact of significant federal health policy changes, such as:

  • The economic impact of hospitals, physicians and the community at large resulting from policy changes.
  • The human impact resulting from such changes.
  • The impact of the health care safety net from such changes.

Above all policy makers need to be reminded that health care expenses are a zero-sum game. Reduced federal funding for health care doesn't eliminate the health care expense itself - it merely shifts it to other entities (hospitals, physicians, CBOs). At least we recognize that our valued providers should not and cannot support added burden and we will advocate on behalf of our community as we have done for over 30 years.

This is not meant to paint a dire picture of the future, as I don't think that's the case. I believe that 2017 will be to a large degree a year of uncertainty. Uncertainty isn't necessarily good or bad, it's just uncertain. What is certain is that CenCal Health, along with our partners in the health care community, will be working diligently to help promote and encourage a certainty that's as beneficial to the Central Coast as possible.

At CenCal Health, we partner with our providers -- from promoting quality health care delivery to ensuring our members get the care they need at the right time and in the right setting. We encourage not only healthier outcomes and well-being for the people we serve; but also we "take care of our own" mentality that we think epitomizes our collective philosophy in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties. Without you, none of what we do would be possible.

Robert S.Freeman, C.E.O.

(Note: this article was adapted from a previous article)

by Dr. Darryl Leong, MD MPH

Fortunately, all of us here at CenCal have jobs that focus on a single mission of improving the health and well-being of the people of the communities of Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties. I say fortunately because not all health plans have such a clear community health oriented mission.
So what does this mean on a day-to-day level? We want to know that our work contributed to improving the community's health at the end of the day.
Indeed, all that we do across CenCal Health relates to the quality of care provided to our members. The job of providing and assuring quality does not only reside in the quality or clinical departments.
I would like to relate what we do to what is most important to members:
  • To obtain quick access to a physician or qualified provider when they have a health problem or symptom.
  • To be treated with respect, compassion, and caring.
  • To have a thorough medical evaluation including diagnostic tests, and to receive appropriate treatment or treatment recommendations.
  • To be provided assistance in helping them obtain and understand tests and treatments.
  • To be referred to a specialist or hospital when needed.
  • To be listened to, to have time with staff who are able to answer their questions, and translate medical jargon to everyday language.
  • To be assured that recommended tests, procedures, and referrals are completed.
  • That all abnormal diagnostic results or critical recommendations are tracked and receive appropriate follow-up.
  • That care is coordinated among all of their treating providers.
  • On the prevention side, for us to know what is needed and when it is needed and to remind them of this.
Dr. Darryl Leong, Chief Medical Officer

(Note: this article was adapted from a previous article)

May 9 th - UCSB's Economic Forecast Project

May 12 th - Visiting Nurse and Hospice Care's
"Mother's Day Luncheon"

May 13 th - Family Care Network's
"Miracle Miles for Kids"

May 18 th - Community Action Commission
"Champions Dinner"