The Blue Shield of California Foundation has announced grants totaling $1.7 million to ten California counties working to get a head start on implementing new coverage options under the federal health reform law that will go into effect in 2014.
The grants, which build on twelve similar grants awarded by the foundation earlier this fall, will help Contra Costa, Kern, Los Angeles, Monterey, Orange, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Joaquin, San Mateo, and Stanislaus counties develop coverage programs that qualify for additional funding under a newly expanded Medi-Cal program. Announced last month by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, the new Section 1115 Medicaid waiver agreement will enable any county in the state to obtain federal funds 8212 up to $10 billion will be made available over the next five years 8212 to create or expand local health coverage programs and improve care for legal, low-income residents.
To qualify for federal funds, counties must demonstrate their ability to deliver integrated and coordinated care to that population. To that end, the BSCF grants will help counties adopt best practices for creating coverage expansion programs and coordinating care across different safety-net services. In addition, the grants will help counties make the transition to providing better coordinated primary and specialty care for patients who today receive episodic care, at best.
"California has an opportunity to bring health care to those who need it most, and counties will be at the forefront of the expansion," said BSCF president and CEO Peter Long. "We have supported California's efforts to expand coverage for many years, and we are proud to act as an ally for counties working to take full advantage of this opportunity."