EL CENTRO – The County Board of Supervisors took another step to finalizing the establishment of a Local Health Authority that will be composed of valley-wide medical professionals, hospital administrators, and laymen.
The commission is the board of directors of the Local Health Authority. The Local Health Authority is part of a two-plan model of managed health care of Medi-cal managed care. A county can elect to be more involved in overseeing and delivering healthcare to its Medi-cal beneficiaries through the Medi-cal Managed Care Program.
Joint chambers of Commerce were invited to select a member from the general public to sit on the board. They chose Lee Hindman as a representative of the general public.
“We thought it was important because we’ve been very concerned for the two hospitals to work together. “ Susan Giller, Joint Chamber representative said.
“Medi-cal is such a huge part of our community,” Giller added.
Robin Hodgkin, director of Public Health explained how the Local Health Authority will work. Hodgkin said that the unique two-plan model, which California Health and Wellness is a Medi-cal Managed Care plan, has been selected as our local initiative plan.
This local health authority will work directly with California Health and Wellness to ensure the programs and services are delivered to members of the Local Health Initiative plan in a way that helps our community in whatever ways need to be addressed.
There is also a commercial plan, the Molina Healthcare, that operates similarly to any other commercial health care plan.
Medi-cal is a federally funded program that is operated through the State of California.
This commission set up by the Board is a way to make sure the county has a way to monitor and ensure the needs of the valley are being met.
The steering committee was composed of the leaders of the healthcare community, including physicians, hospital administrators, clinic directors, and the county departments involved in public health care from all the towns in the valley.
Some of the steering committee became members of the Local Health Authority.
Hodgkin said the two-plan model is unique to California, in which the local Board of Supervisors selects the health plan. The health plan is called the Local Initiative Health Plan. The State of California selects the commercial plan. They both have contracts with the state, requirements that must meet federal dictates,
The Steering Committee began by addressing health care reform, the Affordable Health Care Act, and what impact these would have on our community.
Electronic health records and the High Tech Health Act both were large aspects of the steering committees issues as they formed the guidelines for the Local Health Authority.
Hodgkin added, “We found out the State was mandating rural counties transition from fee for service to Medi-cal managed care and that then became the focus of our Local Health Authority.”
A chairman of the committee is yet to be chosen. John Renison of District 1 was chosen from the board. Other members are Ralph Cordova, Jr., CEO County of Imperial, Tomas Virgen, Interim CEO of ECRMC, Larry Lewis, CEO of Pioneers Hospital, Yvonne Bell, CEO, Clinicas de Salud del Pueblo, Afshan Baig, MD., Michael Horn, Director Behavioral Health, Peggy Price, Director of Social Services, Lorenzo Tumbaga, Prabhdeep Singh, MD, Vachaspathi Palakodeti, MD, and Helena Hoyt, RN, MS, PHN.