Pulse Contents
A Letter of Goodbye
New Pilot: Know More: HPV 
New Vaccine Tool: Fotonovelas!
HEDIS Results Complete
CenCal Health Funds Summer Therapy Services
Membership Totals
Community Activities
Career Opportunities

A Letter of Goodbye from the Community Relations Manager
It was over thirteen years ago that I joined CenCal Health and started serving the communities of Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo. I’m sad to share that my time working with all of you is ending.I have been afforded the opportunity to make strong, collaborative relationships throughout both counties, and I can say that I will sincerely miss you all. The opportunity to interact with our members, providers and community partners has proven invaluable to me.
I’ve been told by members “thank you CenCal Health for saving my life”, by providers “We are grateful for having a local health plan to help us”, and by community partners, “We’d never have some of the programs here without CenCal Health.” Those comments and many others have shown me the value of being part of a community and working for an amazing organization, whose mission I believe in so strongly. I’m proud and honored to say I’ve worked for CenCal Health! It makes it all the harder that I’m being called away to assist family because I will miss my CenCal Health family, which includes the communities of San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara. My last day with CenCal Health will be November 1st. Thank you for everything you do to serve our members and thank you for the time we’ve spent together. 

I will continue to work with CenCal Health for a period of time on a contractual basis. For questions following November 1st, please contact Nicolette Worley Marselian, Director of Communications and Community Relations at nworleymarselian@cencalhealth.org , (805) 617-1993, or Citlaly Santos, Community Outreach Coordinator at csantos@cencalhealth.org , (805) 364-9274.


Theresa Scott

Know More: HPV 
Addressing HPV vaccination rate disparity with a digital,
in-office patient intervention

HPV annually infects 14 million people worldwide, and causes more than 33,000 in the U.S. to develop cancer. Despite these statistics, HPV vaccination rates remain low. In 2016, the CDC found that only 58% of teens in California have completed HPV vaccination. In the same year, CenCal Health achieved only a 38.36% HPV vaccination rate in Santa Barbara County. Knowing that HPV vaccination prevents infections that can lead to 6 types of cancer, we felt that this was an important issue to address. 

CenCal Health approached Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics (SBNC) to work on an HPV vaccination improvement project. Together, CenCal Health and SBNC determined that the best way to improve HPV vaccination rates was to educate parents of adolescents who need the vaccine about its importance.

CenCal Health developed a digital, interactive, tablet-based program to educate parents on the necessity of HPV vaccination, with expert guidance from the American Cancer Society. The program was then given to parents at a critical moment: when the child is already at the provider’s office. The collaboration between 3 distinct entities—CenCal Health, SBNC, and The American Cancer Society—allowed for the development of a unique program using different perspectives and areas of expertise. 

The program CenCal Health created, Know More: HPV,includes a slideshow, Q&A, and video. Because the program was built with internal software, it can be modified remotely, without interfering with daily use. The program gives providers a starting point from which to have a conversation with vaccine-hesitant parents. It also increases clinic workflow efficiency as it educates and primes parents to discuss HPV vaccination during the visit. Another added value is that it is something productive for parents to do during perceived long wait times. Its simple implementation ensures that it is sustainable and easily scalable. 

In addition to being innovative, Know More: HPV is proving very successful, based on the significant improvements to HPV vaccination rates already measured. As of July 2019, the HPV vaccination rate at SBNC increased by 29% in just 5 months! At this rate of improvement, SBNC is projected to significantly surpass the program’s goal. Patient satisfaction with Know More: HPV is measured through a survey at the end of the program. Weekly survey results report that patient satisfaction is very high. Monthly reporting by SBNC also indicates positive provider satisfaction with the program. 

The marked improvements in vaccination rates as a result of the program have added value to the patient, provider, and community. Patients receive high-quality, engaging, and creative health education that has made an impact in increasing HPV vaccination. This change in practice has already improved quality of care, and the expected reduction in HPV-related cancers should provide improved quality of life.Providers are able to offer their patients a targeted, no-cost educational resource right in the clinic. The community at large has been informed of the collaboration, which has highlighted the importance of HPV vaccination. CenCal Health is pleased with the program and plans to expand it to additional network providers to create a series for additional health education topics.

Entertaining, Educational Resources about Vaccine
Patients and providers have been inundated with messages about the need to vaccinate. Yet, we still see vaccination rates decreasing and outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases increasing.

In an effort to use innovative and entertaining ways to educate our communities about vaccines, CenCal Health has adopted a new health promotion tool.

Called  Infectious Rumors! Rumores Infecciosos!, this tool is a fotonovela-style health education material aimed at dispelling myths around vaccination risks. A fotonovela is an attention-grabbing, bilingual story-telling method, using a series of captioned photographs. The fotonovela is evidence-based and has been recognized and awarded by organizations including the American Pharmacists Association.
The entertaining booklets are being distributed to CenCal Health members through high-volume primary care providers in both SB and SLO Counties. Some will also be distributed through key community partners and at health fairs. In September 2019, a Spanish-only version was inserted in the El Latino newspaper. The fotonovela includes recommended vaccine schedules for both children and adults, as well as information on CenCal Health and how to apply for Medi-Cal locally. Want to check it out? A video version of the each fotonovela is also available to view on CenCal Health’s website. 

CenCal Health’s Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS) 2019 evaluation of performance for the Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo Medi-Cal programs was completed and reported to the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) and the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS).
Annually, DHCS adopts the NCQA 25 th and 90 th Medicaid percentiles from the prior year as its Minimum Performance Level (MPL) and High Performance Level (HPL) to sanction and reward Medi-Cal plans. Likewise, CenCal Health adopts the DHCS HPL as its goal level of performance. For each aspect of care, CenCal Health’s goal represents the level of care achieved by the best 10% of Medicaid managed care plans nationally.
This year’s findings affirmed CenCal Health’s high standing among Medicaid plans nationally, with ratings for many aspects of care that surpassed the nation’s highest Medicaid benchmarks, and only one aspect of care that fell short of the DHCS MPL. For each county, seventeen quality indicators were evaluated against Medicaid benchmarks. Below are highlights for CenCal Health’s Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo Medi-Cal products.
  • 7 aspects of care rated among the best 5 % of Medicaid health plans nationally

  • 7 additional aspects of care rated among the best 10%

  • 10 additional aspect of care rated among the best 25%

  • 2 rated below the Medicaid 50th percentile

  • 1 rated below the DHCS MPL and Medicaid 25th percentile, although DHCS chose to not hold any plans to the MPL for the aspect of care that CenCal Health missed

DHCS will use CenCal Health’s HEDIS results to evaluate the value that CenCal Health and its providers bring to the community. This year’s exceptional results are expected to confirm CenCal Health’s traditionally high standing among Medi-Cal plans.

For detailed results by aspect of care, please refer to CenCal Health’s web site:
[1] HEDIS ® is a registered trademark of the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA). HEDIS is a set of standardized performance measures designed to ensure that purchasers and consumers have the information they need to reliably compare health care quality. NCQA accredits and certifies a wide range of health care organizations and manages the evolution of HEDIS ® , the performance measurement tool used by more than 90 percent of the nation’s health plans.

CenCal Health again funds
Summer therapy services for kids

Every week day this past Summer, in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo, young lives were transformed.  Camp Mariposas provides speech, language, and occupational therapies to children, primarily between the ages of 3 and 8 years, who have been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD ) or other conditions that would benefit from early and continuous intervention. A team of professional speech and language pathologists, movement and motor skill therapists, and behavioral specialists work closely with children to foster communication, as well as physical and social development. The positive effect of being able to communicate and to accomplish physical tasks previously thought too difficult, helps create a happy, more motivated child.

Camp Mariposas was founded by Speech and Language Pathologist Silvia Wasjutin in 2013 as an adjunct program to Mariposas Project/MP Health , a private health services agency. The camp’s primary purpose is to bridge the gap in services for local children with disabilities during the summer when school is not in session. Wasjutin has over 30 years of experience, spending 15 years as a speech and language pathologist in the Santa Barbara Unified School District and at the Santa Barbara County Department of Education. Wasjutin was also the parent of a special needs child, seeing “firsthand the need for kids to receive special individualized services and counseling year-round by pediatric therapy professionals, in an inclusive and loving environment.” 

Camp Mariposas is funded by  CenCal Health , the local medical health plan in both Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties. Eligible children attend the therapeutic summer program at no cost.

“We are pleased to continue to provide funding for this important program for the last several years,” said Bob Freeman , Chief Executive Officer at CenCal Health . “Camp Mariposas provides a critical service outside of the walls of doctor's offices for our members and other children during the summer months.”

Not only do children benefit from the program, but their families do as well. Claudia Cervantes is the mother of 8-year-old Josue who has Down Syndrome and has attended Camp Mariposas every summer since he was a baby. “Josue has experienced so many victories at Camp Mariposas. "The therapists here have helped him to learn to crawl, then walk and talk. When Josue learned to put on his own socks it was a victory for our whole family,” says Cervantes. “The program has also taught me valuable parenting skills – methods to motivate Josue so that he is always learning and developing.”

This Summer, Camp Mariposas provided nearly 2,000 hours of speech and occupational therapies over seven weeks. Eighty-nine children were served by ten therapists, six volunteers, two high school students earning community credit, and one college intern. For 2019, Camp Mariposas added a “handwriting camp” to help accommodate children with specific fine motor and handwriting needs.

“Each year we increase camp enrollment and yet we still have a waiting list of kids who want and need these services during the summer,” said Wasjutin.  

Wasjutin gives credit for the success of Camp Mariposas to “our incredible therapists and staff.” Diana DiMauro is another an example of the transformative power of Camp Mariposas, not just for the kids. Starting seven years ago while a student at San Marcos High School, DiMauro began working in the summers as a young assistant at the therapy camp. She became so enamored with the children and the work of the professional therapists that she decided to make speech and language pathology her life’s work. Recently graduated with a BA from University of the Pacific, DiMauro is now enrolled in graduate school and on her way to becoming a professional speech therapist.  

To help maintain the therapy program’s high degree of training and professionalism, Wasjutin maintains a recruiting relationship with several colleges and universities with speech pathology and occupational therapy programs, including New York University (NYU), Dominican University in San Francisco, and West Coast University in Los Angeles. 

Camp Mariposas also has ongoing relationships with local service organizations like the Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics (SBNC) and Alpha Resource Center of Santa Barbara . Physicians at SBNC often refer children to Camp Mariposas, and Camp Mariposas will call upon Alpha Resource Center if they see a family that needs additional services for their disabled child. Local therapists from all school districts work at the camp in the Summer, some since the camp was founded.

“Josue loves Camp Mariposas. Before he could speak, he would ask us about camp by making the butterfly gesture with his hands - entwining his thumbs and waving his fingers,”  said Cervantes. “All his life he will remember the experience he had these summers at Camp Mariposas.”

Recent Community Activities

August 1
Cultural Competence Free Training: Enhancing Cultural Humility in Working with Diverse Families in Community-Based Mental Health Settings (SB)

August 7 
Santa Barbara Health Care Center
Health Fair

August 8
SLO County Latino Outreach Council
Town Hall

August 8
Lompoc Health Care Center and Partners Health Fair

August 9
Community Health Centers of the Central Coast (CHCCC) – Templeton Site Dedication Ceremony (SLO)

August 10 
CHCCC Health/Diabetes Fair (SLO)

August 13
SLO County Community Connection 

August 15
Healthy School Pantry THRIVE event
August 19
Local Health Plans of California Marketing Executives Quarterly Meeting

August 21
SLO County Ad HOC Homeless Services Oversight Committee 

August 21  
SLO County Behavioral Health Board

August 22
6 th  Annual Mega Mixer – Greater Santa Barbara Business and Hospitality Organizations

August 23
Santa Barbara Recuperative Care
Steering Committee

August 24
SLO County Latino Outreach Council Fiesta Latina

August 29
Cultural Competence Free Training: Enhancing Cultural Humility in Working with Diverse Families in Community-Based Mental Health Settings (SB)

Upcoming Community Activities

September 6
Adult Services Policy Council (SLO)

September 9
SLO County Nurses Appreciation Dinner

September 10
Family Services Agency Meeting
(Santa Maria)

September 11
Public Charge: Immigrant Health Under New Rule

September 12
SLO County Latino Outreach Council
Town Hall

September 13
Transitions-Mental Health Association Suicide Prevention Mental Health Forum (Santa Maria)

September 13
Breast Cancer Resource Center’s Annual Fundraiser Gala (SB)

September 14
United Way Day of Caring (SB)

September 17
Lompoc Primary and Behavioral
Health Collaborative

September 18
SLO County Behavioral Health Board 

September 18
Homeless Services Oversight Council (SLO)

September 19
Santa Maria Medically Vulnerable Program

September 19
THRIVE Healthy School Pantry Event – Santa Maria

September 20
San Luis Obispo Substance Use Treatment and Counseling (SLO-HUB) and SLO County Care Coordination Coalition  

September 20
SLO County Latino Outreach Council Fiesta Patrias

September 24
SLO County Homeless Services Oversight Council Care Coordinating Sub-Committee
September 25
Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation’s Annual Gold Ribbon Luncheon (SB)

September 26
Santa Barbara County Care Coordination Coalition Steering Committee

September 27
SLO County Chamber of Commerce
State of the State Event

Santa Barbara
Membership Totals
Total - 123,500
San Luis Obispo
Membership Totals
Total - 51,254


CenCal Health

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

4050 Calle Real
Santa Barbara, CA 93110

1035 Peach St, Suite 201
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

(805) 685-9525