Newsom Announces $144 Million to Increase Health Care Access for Low-Income Californians

Newsom Announces $144 Million to Increase Health Care Access for Low-Income Californians

An emergency sign directs patients and staff to the emergency room at the Kaiser Permanente San Diego Medical Center in San Diego, California on April 17, 2017. (Mike Blake/Reuters)

Travis Gillmore

Travis Gillmore

11/2/2023

Updated: 12/30/2023

0

California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Oct. 31 funding totaling $144 million spread across 145 health care organizations and providers statewide intended to improve accessibility and expand medical services for those using Medi-Cal insurance coverage.
“California is making health care more accessible for people all across the state, regardless of their income,” Mr. Newsom said in a press release highlighting the new funding. “Today’s investment breaks down barriers so more Californians can get the care and support they need, where they live and when they need it—leading to healthier lives and a healthier California.”
The money is in addition to $207 million awarded earlier this year in two phases, with officials noting that all 58 counties in the state are represented between the rounds dispersed so far.
Twenty-seven organizations in Los Angeles County will receive funding from the most recent allocation, with 15 health care groups in Orange County, and 14 in Sacramento County additionally selected, among dozens of others throughout the state.
While details were not yet provided for the most recent round of funding, those from earlier phases revealed many applicants requesting it to increase staffing and to develop infrastructure to better serve patients. Homeless populations and low-income individuals are prioritized in most proposals.
“These investments will advance the goals of the broader Medi-Cal transformation by building the capacity and infrastructure of providers working to improve health outcomes for Medi-Cal members,” Michelle Baass, director of the state’s health care services department, said in an agency press release Oct. 31 announcing the awards.
Health care workers care for a patient in Coronado, Calif., on May 7, 2020. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Health care workers care for a patient in Coronado, Calif., on May 7, 2020. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Others said the money will allow for better communication and integration with community-based organizations and local health care providers with intimate knowledge of Medi-Cal members and how best to care for them.
“We know these organizations are critical partners in providing whole person care and building a more equitable delivery system,” Susan Philip, deputy director for the health care services department’s health care delivery systems, said in the same press release.
Those eligible for funding include city, county, and local agencies; community-based organizations; tribal health programs; and other providers, including hospitals.
Awardees must complete milestones and spend their allotment within two years of beginning their projects—which must be initiated within six months of receiving awards, per state guidelines.
A third round of funding is anticipated next year, with the state’s application window slated to open in early 2024, according to the health care services department’s website.
Critics question the logic of increasing the number of individuals with Medi-Cal access when the state is suffering from a lack of health care providers, suggesting that more resources should be directed toward developing facilities to increase services.
“In order to increase or expand healthcare, we need to make an investment in the infrastructure to increase capacity,” Genaro Grajeda, CEO of HealthPact—a company focused on assisting healthcare providers—told The Epoch Times. “This not only means directing dollars to healthcare, but also allowing regulatory changes that are barriers to increasing capacity.”
Attempting to expand without the resources and providers available to offer care could worsen availability by overwhelming existing systems and creating lengthy waits for patients.
“While the goal is great there is a perception that the expansion will cause or further exacerbate physician shortages in certain areas designated as healthcare professional shortage areas,” Mr. Grajeda said. “The demand for primary care access will inadvertently cause a further access delay particularly for establishing care visits.”
Copy
facebooktwitterlinkedintelegram
Travis Gillmore

Travis Gillmore

Author

Travis Gillmore is an avid reader and journalism connoisseur based in California covering finance, politics, the State Capitol, and breaking news for The Epoch Times.

Author's Selected Articles
California Insider
Sign up here for our email newsletter!
©2024 California Insider All Rights Reserved. California Insider is a part of Epoch Media Group.