The California Health Care Foundation (CHCF) launched a 16-month project called Advancing Community Health Workers and Promotores (CHW/Ps) in the Future of Medi-Cal, with an overarching goal of supporting the transformation of health care systems to advance health equity. CHW/Ps have long played a vital role in promoting health and well-being in under resourced communities that experience barriers to care. They are trained community members who help others navigate various medical and social services that will ultimately improve health outcomes – something that is even more important in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The project, which kicked off earlier this month, is comprised of three different charter groups, and L.A. Care Health Plan is participating in two of them. L.A. Care CEO John Baackes is one of six health plan Chief Executive Officers who are on the Health Plan Council Charter, and L.A. Care Senior Director of Safety Net Initiatives Cynthia Carmona is among 18 people who will serve on the Stakeholder Group Charter.
L.A. Care has its own commitment to CHWs working with L.A. Care members, as part of its five-year, $155 million Elevating the Safety Net initiative, which launched in 2018 to address a looming physician shortage. Since late last year, the health plan has committed nearly $900,000 for two training cohorts for 47 community health care workers. Another $400,000 has been committed to conduct an evaluation of the program and to train a third cohort of 20 community health workers starting in starting in January 2021. The nine-week training course is run by Loma Linda University. L.A. Care intends for these workers to support members’ primary care physicians (PCPs) by helping the members with social service needs that PCPs simply don’t have time to address.
L.A. Care also has a health promoters program. The trained Health Promoters provide health education through peer to peer support to plan members and the Los Angeles County community through different avenues like health events, classes and presentations sponsored by L.A. Care and other community-based organizations.
The CHCF project will develop a set of four Implementation Packages with resources and sample tools designed to help Medi-Cal managed care plans deploy effective CHW/P programs. Baackes and Carmona will share details about L.A. Care’s CHW program and will have valuable information to contribute to the Implementation Packages.
About L.A. Care Health Plan
L.A. Care Health Plan serves more than 2.2 million members in Los Angeles County, making it the largest publicly operated health plan in the country. L.A. Care offers four health coverage plans including Medi-Cal, L.A. Care Covered™, L.A. Care Cal MediConnect Plan and the PASC-SEIU Homecare Workers Health Care Plan, all dedicated to being accountable and responsive to members. As a public entity, L.A. Care’s mission is to provide access to quality health care for L.A. County's low-income communities, and to support the safety net required to achieve that purpose. L.A. Care prioritizes quality, access and inclusion, elevating health care for all of L.A. County. For more information, follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.