CenCal Health, State Officials Discuss Medi-Cal Transformation on the Central Coast

Health Plan hosts CalAIM-focused listening session for DHCS, community partners

 As part of a listening tour organized by the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS),  CenCal Health convened with State officials,  members of the CenCal Health Board of Directors, and community partners from San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties to discuss opportunities in the local implementation of the California Advancing and Innovating Medi-Cal (CalAIM) initiative. CalAIM is the far-reaching, multi-year plan developed by the State to transform Medi-Cal by breaking down the traditional walls of health care – extending beyond hospitals and healthcare settings into communities. In Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties, the local Medi-Cal health plan CenCal Health is responsible for managing the implementation of CalAIM programs with its provider and community partners.

The listening session, held on April 27 in Santa Barbara, focused on local CalAIM efforts, with attendees sharing observations made during the implementation process, highlighting what is going well, best practices, and suggestions and ideas for improvement. DHCS representatives – Chief Deputy Director and State Medicaid Director Jacey Cooper and Assistant Director Tracy Arnold – had the opportunity to meet and hear from nearly 60 attendees, the majority of which were CenCal Health community partners and members of its Board of Directors, such as San Luis Obispo County Supervisor and Board Member Dawn Ortiz-Legg, County of Santa Barbara Chief Executive Officer Mona Miyasato, and Good Samaritan Shelter Executive Director Sylvia Barnard, among others.

Some of the key topics covered by local experts included CalAIM services that address local housing and homelessness challenges; street medicine; behavioral health; family, youth, and children’s services; and justice-involved populations. Special attention was also placed on workforce and sustainability needs to achieve the promise of CalAIM, as well as Medi-Cal redetermination.

“We do listening tours to hear what is working and what is not working, so that we can fine-tune our policies and technical assistance,” said Cooper. “I appreciate the open and frank conversation about local CalAIM implementation. What we heard loud and clear this morning is the collaboration and partnership between community, providers, and CenCal Health.”

CenCal Health went live with CalAIM in July 2022 and, to date, has implemented numerous services under the CalAIM framework, like the Enhanced Care Management benefit, six Community Supports services, the Incentive Payment Program for providers, the Student Behavioral Health Incentive Program, and the Housing the Homelessness Incentive Program (HHIP).

“Our community partners and stakeholders were able to share local successes as well as challenges in implementing CalAIM,” said CenCal Health CEO Marina Owen. “More importantly, it was a wonderful opportunity for our Santa Barbara County and San Luis Obispo County partners to connect and be galvanized in our collective efforts to transform health care services for our Medi-Cal members.”

Santa Barbara was one of approximately 12 stops in the DHCS Listening Tour meeting series across the diverse state.

More information on the local implementation of CalAIM is available on CenCal Health’s website at cencalhealth.org/calaim.

 About CenCal Health

CenCal Health is the local Medi-Cal health plan that partners with over 1,500 local physicians, hospitals, and other providers in delivering health care services to nearly 232,000 members in its two-county service area. Marking 40 years of serving the most vulnerable, CenCal Health prioritizes cultivating community partnerships; advancing quality and health equity; expanding its service role and reach in the community; and organizing for impact and effectiveness. With a vision to be a trusted leader in advancing health equity so that the communities we serve thrive and achieve optimal health, CenCal Health invites the public to review its 2023-2025 Strategic Plan at cencalhealth.org/strategicplan.

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Media Contact: Sheri Mobley (213) 509-9816  sheri@seamlesspr.com

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