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CalOptima Tackling Homeless Health With New Programs

Clinical Field Teams and CalOptima Homeless Response Team Created to Meet Complex Needs of Members Who Are Homeless

Orange, California (March 13, 2019)

CalOptima Medi-Cal members who are homeless will soon benefit from two new programs designed to deliver quality care tailored to their needs. CalOptima’s Board of Directors approved the launch of a clinical field team pilot program in partnership with community health centers to mobilize doctors and medical assistants to provide urgent care services in the community starting next month. Supporting this new health care delivery approach will be a specialized department, the CalOptima Homeless Response Team. Also authorized by the Board, this group of eight staff will focus on care coordination, navigation services and supportive resources.

“CalOptima embraces our evolving and dynamic role in serving Orange County’s homeless,” said Paul Yost, M.D., CalOptima Chairman of the Board. “We will continue to collaborate with the county, health networks, homeless advocacy groups and other interested stakeholders to ensure that CalOptima members receive the care they need. Our responsibility to serve the most vulnerable is ingrained in our mission as a community-based health plan.”

These programs also amplify CalOptima’s recent commitment of more than $22 million in services for at-risk and homeless CalOptima members, including $11.4 million for mental health services and $11 million for recuperative care services, which improve outcomes for homeless members being discharged from the hospital.

“CalOptima needs to hold itself to a higher standard when it comes to providing access to care for our homeless members,” said Andrew Do, Orange County Supervisor and CalOptima Board member. “In my dual role, I am urging important improvements to homeless health care delivery by compelling the agency to move beyond traditional approaches. The new programs are only the beginning of what is needed, and I will continue to challenge CalOptima to implement other enhancements going forward.”

At this time, CalOptima is enhancing the system of care for members who are homeless in the following four ways:

  • Clinical Field Team Pilot Program: CalOptima will partner with Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) to bring urgent care services to homeless individuals in the community. The clinical field teams, which could include a physician, medical assistant and social worker, will be available during extended hours. FQHCs will be able to serve CalOptima members as well as non-members. Services for non-members will be covered by federal funding available to FQHCs for the uninsured. Further, the CalOptima Board authorized up to $1.6 million for FQHC startup costs.
  • CalOptima Homeless Response Team: This internal team of CalOptima staff will be the single point of contact designated to serve members who are homeless by supporting the clinical field teams, providing navigation services and more. The multidisciplinary group will include personal care coordinators and clinical case managers.
  • Recuperative Care Services: CalOptima has committed $11 million for recuperative care services as part of Orange County Health Care Agency’s Whole-Person Care Pilot program. Recuperative care facilities provide a clean, safe place for a homeless member discharged from the hospital to stay for up to 90 days when medically indicated.
  • Regional Mental Health and Wellness Campus: The Orange County Board of Supervisors and other partners recently announced plans to create an integrated mental health campus providing a seamless continuum of services from preventive care to crisis stabilization, with CalOptima providing funding for enhanced Medi-Cal services for CalOptima members. The first-of-its-kind facility will start construction this spring and is expected to serve a significant number of homeless individuals based on their high incidence of mental illness.

Concluded CEO Michael Schrader: “CalOptima has a long history of working with community partners, and these initiatives serving the homeless reflect our commitment to always striving to do more. We will continuously monitor our progress and make sure that the programs have strong impact on the health of Orange County’s homeless Medi-Cal population.”

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