The federal government is giving a lot of money to community health centers so they can teach patients about the ins and outs of health care reform – and Los Angeles is no exception.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced on Wednesday that more than 1,100 health centers across the U.S. were awarded grants totaling $150 million in order to fund the effort to enroll millions of people into health insurance.
Thirty-three of those grants went to L.A. County, which collectively received more than $6.2 million. Of those 33 health centers, 10 are either located in South L.A. or serve patients from the area. The list includes:
- Central City Community Health Center, Inc. ($143,612)
- Eisner Pediatric & Family Medical Center ($185,456)
- JWCH Institute, Inc. ($282,245)
- Northeast Community Clinic, Inc. ($99,326)
- South Bay Family Health Center ($136,814)
- South Central Family Health Center ($171,574)
- St. John's Well Child and Family Center ($300,769)
- T.H.E. Clinic, Inc. ($120,391)
- UMMA Community Clinic ($94,000)
- Watts Healthcare Corporation ($142,710)
That adds up to more than $1.6 million for South L.A. All eight member sites of the Southside Coalition of Community Health Centers were among L.A. County's recipients.
Louise McCarthy, the president and CEO of the Community Clinic Association of Los Angeles County, said the clinics will use that money to both train existing staff on how to do effective outreach and hire new staff to expand outreach capacity.
"Each clinic that received this funding received an amount based on the number of patients they serve, the number of folks they have who are uninsured and their capacities related to enrollment," she explained. "They are going to be catering their efforts to the individual community they serve, because every community is going to respond to [outreach efforts] a little bit differently."
For the most part, people who are uninsured are looking at two options: Covered California, the statewide health insurance marketplace, or Medi-Cal, which is slated to expand its rolls by more than 1 million Californians starting in 2014.
In South L.A., more patients are expected to benefit from the Medi-Cal expansion than from Covered California. An estimated 1.2 million currently uninsured Angelenos are expected to become eligible for one of the two.
McCarthy noted that this latest grant brings the total health care reform-backed funding for L.A. County's health centers to $72 million.
"What's good about this [grant] is it's not just about [Medi-Cal], its not just about Covered California," she said. "It's about whatever people are eligible for, and helping them navigate."
In other words, clinics can use this money to help patients get health insurance through whatever means possible.
There are 51 community health centers across L.A. County, and each year they collectively provide care for more than 1 million patients, most of whom are uninsured.
The Health Resources and Services Administration has the full list of the 125 health centers in California that received funding through this grant.