The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors received a report on Tuesday from several county health departments on the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.
The Affordable Care Act enrollment period closed Monday with seven million Americans having purchased health care through the government, and on Tuesday the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors received an update from county staff on their implementation of ACA.
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The Affordable Care Act in Los Angeles County
At the county board meeting on Tuesday, officials with the Department of Health Services, Department of Public Social Services, Public Health Department and Mental Health Department spoke about the successes and the challenges facing county health care, including care for the uninsured, changes to the Healthy Way LA program and comprehensive care for mental health patients.
The county is currently ahead of its projections for Covered California applications during October 2013 through March 2014 enrollment period, said Mitchell Katz, director of the Department of Health Services.
Covered CA projected that 177,602 Los Angeles County residents would enroll, but 241,312 residents had enrolled as of Feb. 28.
Katz also discussed residents who transferred from the Healthy Way LA program to Medi-Cal, under the ACA’s new Medi-Cal eligibility requirements.
Healthy Way LA is the county’s free health care program for residents at or below 139 percent of the poverty line.
More than 300,000 residents had transitioned from Healthy Way LA to Medi-Cal by Feb. 28, according to Katz report.
The Medi-Cal expansion also means a greater workload for Department Public of Social Services employees.
The department expects about 200,000 Medi-Cal renewal applications each month, said Director Sheryl Spiller.
“Health Neighborhoods” for Mental Health Patients
Marvin Southard, director of the Department of Mental Health said that of their goals under the ACA is to build “health neighborhoods” for patients–coordinating care between a patient’s providers and to get community and faith organizations involved.
“We know that just providing access to care doesn’t necessarily make people live a healthier life,” Southard said. “…The community working together is one of the strongest things we can do to raise health outcomes.”
The Uninsured in Los Angeles County
But, even with higher than projected enrollments for Covered California, the Department of Health Services still estimates that there are 1 million uninsured residents in the county, Katz said.
The majority of those people are healthy working adults who don’t qualify for subsidized health care and want to take their chances with the fine instead, he said.
“If somebody is eligible for Covered California, the message that we give them is, ‘You need to go and get yourself Covered California,’” Katz said, because it isn’t fair for the county to cover the care for these people.
For more information about the Affordable Care Act and Covered California enrollment numbers, click here.
Improvements for the Del Valle Regional Training Facility in Castaic
The county board also approved on consent more than $4,000,000 in improvements for the Del Valle Regional Training Facility in Castaic.
The money will be set aside for a new water storage tank, electrical substation, new communications building and electrical and telecommunications conduits at the county Fire Department training facility on Chiquito Canyon Road.
In November 2008, the board approved a Joint Use Agreement between the Fire Department and the Santa Clarita Community College District to build training facilities at Del Valle.
“The proposed Project consists of the construction of infrastructure improvements to support projects, which have been carried out by the Santa Clarita Community College District,” according to a letter attached to the board agenda.
Approving funds for the infrastructure project was only the first step.
Once the design of the project has been completed, the county Department of Public Works would need to return to the board with findings under the California Environmental Quality Act, to adopt plans and specifications and to advertise for construction bids.
Completion is scheduled for summer 2016.
The Del Valle Regional Emergency Training Center was built to give firefighters a taste of scenarios they might encounter everyday on the job, including chemical fires, vehicle fires and brush fires.
For more information about Del Valle, click here.
To learn more about the County Board of Supervisors, including full meeting agendas and access to stream the meetings live online, click here.
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Source: Santa Clarita News