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MessageA Message from our CEO
Bob Freeman

In relation to health care, 2018 seemed to be the quiet after the storm compared to 2017, when there were several failed attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act in Congress. While health care policy changes took a bit of a breather in 2018, the daily challenges of successfully addressing community health issues took no days off.
As we start 2019, we now have historically low rates of residents in our region that are uninsured, which is a significant accomplishment. However, now that coverage is available, how do we as a community effectively address our area's health care challenges? For me, two challenges immediately come to mind, which we at CenCal Health are working to address.
The first is the better integration of physical and mild-to-moderate mental health services. To be clear, access for low-income residents since 2014 (when CenCal Health began administering these benefits) has improved considerably. People who before had no access to psychiatrists, psychologists, counselors, etc., now have it - and within reasonable time-frames. That being said, we're fully aware that there remain problems with communication between physicians and mental health specialists, timely payments, etc. We're working with our delegate quite aggressively to improve these processes. The importance of integrating physical and behavioral health care is becoming clearer every day - therefore it will remain a top priority for us in 2019.
The second is more effectively managing the care of the homeless population. Cycling in and out of emergency departments is an expensive and often ineffective means of treating chronic health issues. Obviously, homelessness is a condition that number of factors have served to contribute. Therefore, a multi-pronged approach is needed to make progress with this population. In this vein, CenCal Health is partnering with area hospitals and community-based organizations to fund and administer recuperative programs in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara County. Recuperative care programs are designed to provide medical beds in facilities to which homeless hospital patients can be discharged and receive appropriate follow-up care. Further, substance abuse, behavioral health issues, and eventually housing assistance are on the menu of services that can be offered. The total number of individuals that can be helped at any one time (approximately two dozen at full capacity) is still small compared to the total population in need, but it's a start.
I suspect that 2019, like most years before it, will be a year of both challenges and accomplishments. Like every year, we enter 2019 with optimism and energy. As always, we value and appreciate your partnership as we work on a daily basis to make our members/patients and community better off than the day before.

ReportCenCal Health Releases Entirely Digital Annual Community Report

CenCal Health, the local Medi-Cal health plan for Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo Counties, has published its 2018 Community Report.  New this year is an entirely digital format, complete with videos, photos, audio testimonials, and animation. The organization has issued traditional paper-based reports previously, but made the switch this year coinciding with its 35th anniversary. CenCal Health serves more than 175,000 Medi-Cal beneficiaries. A decade ago, the organization expanded coverage to San Luis Obispo County.
The outline of the Report follows a traditional hardcopy format: A message from the CEO, its mission and vision, achievements, leadership and financial information. But the online format allows content to be easily sharable and repurposed for future versions. Perhaps most importantly, it displays data in a unique and interesting way that is interactive.
"We wanted our report to the community to engage our stakeholders in a different way," says Bob Freeman, CenCal Health CEO. "And we believe a digital format is the best way to make our efforts, successes and value more tangible."
One of the largest benefits of the online annual report format is a wider range of content options. CenCal Health's includes a video message from Freeman, animated key indicators, photo collages of providers, audio testimonials and more. Topics highlighted include the organization's quality scores, its partnerships with other community-based organizations, how it improves access to care, and how it addresses Social Determinants of Health, among others
The organization recounts that its network physicians' data resulted in the highest quality scores in CenCal Health's history. Other notables include being one of the first local health plans selected by the State to transition responsibilities for the new Whole Child Model. The Whole Child Model gave all responsibilities for care coordination for specific, severe medical conditions that fall under California Children's Services (CCS) to a Medi-Cal-eligible child's health plan, rather than splitting care coordination responsibilities between two different organizations. The Whole Child Model video features a mother of a CCS member who discusses the coordination challenges that existed before the Model's implementation.
There is no paper version, or even a .pdf available. The report is easily sharable to Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and email by using selections located on the site. By increasing views of the report, the organization hopes to dispel unflattering and incorrect stereotypes of Medi-Cal members, tens of thousands of whom gained coverage as a result of the Affordable Care Act.
The report was created by the Communications and Community Relations department with the help of local marketing agency, Idea Engineering. CenCal Health's 2018 Community Report is available from their website, cencalhealth.org, directly at cencal2018.org or by clicking here.

HomelessRecuperative Care Program Established on Central Coast to Help Plight of Local Homeless
Successful Pilot Program Opens Doors for $1 Million in Recuperative Care Funding from CenCal Health

CenCal Health recently announced a collaborative new program that provides safe recuperative care to local homeless who are not sick enough to be hospitalized, but are too frail to recover from their illness or injury on the streets. The goals of the Recuperative Care Program (RCP) are:

1. To address where and how the homeless recover after hospitalizations in order to improve health outcomes. 

2. To break the costly cycle of using the emergency department as first-line medical care.

3. To improve the lives of the most vulnerable in the health plan's service area of Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo Counties. 

RCPs launched in other communities have shown that the program reduces Emergency Department utilization and hospital readmission rates of homeless residents.

"We became aware of this need in the community through ongoing relationships with our medical partners and local social service agencies," said Bob Freeman, CEO of CenCal Health. "We are proud to be able to provide payment for up to 90 days for those Medi-Cal members who need these comprehensive medical services. Together with our local partners, we plan to disrupt the cycle of preventable re-hospitalizations for our members experiencing homelessness." CenCal Health will provide a funding plan for the Recuperative Care Program in both counties with up to a $1 million budget allocation, based on utilization.

For San Luis Obispo County and northern Santa Barbara County, CenCal Health is partnering with Dignity Health, Tenet Healthcare, Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo (CAPSLO) and Good Samaritan Shelter. RCP partners in Santa Barbara include Cottage Health and People Assisting the Homeless (PATH). For more information  click here.

MembershipMembership Totals
Current member count as of 2/01/2019 

EventsOn the Horizon
Upcoming Events

March 16, 2019
Sansum Diabetes Research Institute Anniversary Celebration
March 20, 2019 Lompoc Empty Bowls Event
March 20, 2019 SLO County Wellness Fair
March 26, 2019 Santa Barbara United Way Lunch Bunch Volunteer Event
March 31, 2019
Santa Maria Open Streets Health Fair

JobsCenCal Health Carer Opportunities
We invite you to come join our dedicated team. Below is a list of available positions at CenCal Health

To view detailed job descriptions or to apply to an opportunity - click here.

To download an application - click here.

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