San Diegans for Healthcare Coverage, A Coalition for Health

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Key Initiatives

As summarized briefly below, since 2002, SDHCC has engaged in many initiatives focused on meeting our mission – from the Business Healthcare Connection (BHC) providing outreach and education to the business community, community education and consensus building forums, pilot project legislation, and collaborative initiatives, to a San Diego Roadmap to maximize the benefits of health reform to our communities --  all of San Diegans for Healthcare Coverage (SDHCC) initiatives are focused on our mission of meaningful health coverage and care for all San Diegans.

Successful implementation of Health Reform in San Diego is the primary focus of current SDHCC activities. From late 2009 until mid-2011, SDHCC coordinated a diverse stakeholder task force to develop a guide to successful health reform implementation in San Diego. The work of the Task Force was presented in community forums and its recommendations prioritized and published in the San Diego Roadmap to Coverage and Care: Planning for Success Under Health Reform.  SDHCC and our partners continue to pursue implementation of Roadmap recommendations, to develop new initiatives, monitor existing projects and strengthen collaboration among San Diego stakeholders. 

SDHCC Communications Collaborative is a partnership project with community organizations.  The purpose of the collaborative is to develop communication channels and relationships now that will serve as the outreach and education resources for successful implementation of health reform in 2014.  Through the collaborative, we will develop consistent, objective, unbiased and culturally appropriate information on health coverage and care under health reform, key messaging and plans to deliver information that is targeted to each population and business sector.  Our goal is to ensure that our communities are well-informed and linked to resources and means to enroll in coverage for the January 1, 2014 start-date.   Through the Collaborative, we are bringing together health, social service and other community based organizations at the countywide, regional, and neighborhood levels to implement.   We will focus on outreach, messaging, communications and information to the community at large, but most challenging and importantly, to communities most likely to benefit from health reform:  the uninsured, low to modest income individuals and families, small businesses, ethnic and culturally diverse communities, and the homeless.  Our goal is for the Communications Collaborative to lead to a coordinated local Navigator Program under the California Health Benefits Exchange through which local outreach, education and assistance will be carried out. 

Community and Constituency Education continues to be a key activity for SDHCC and its coalition members.  SDHCC staff and coalition members participate in community forums and panels on coverage, care and health reform and the Roadmap report.  SDHCC staff provide education to community groups on health reform, coverage and care models and the Roadmap across the community.  SDHCC Board and Coalition Meetings bring together stakeholders quarterly to review SDHCC and other community initiatives identified in the Roadmap.  These meetings provide a neutral meeting ground in which stakeholders can discuss projects, progress made, and new ideas to maximize the benefits of health reform over the next several years.  In May 2010, San Diegans for Healthcare Coverage convened a Coalition Health Reform Interchange Forum.  The forum goal was for key constituency representatives to present both the benefits and challenges of the new health law to other coalition members.   The information from this forum was carried forward into the work of the Roadmap Task Force deliberations.

SDHCC served as a stakeholder partner on development and implementation of key aspects of the Low-Income Health Program, a County of San Diego health program serving as a bridge to health reform for qualified low income individuals.  SDHCC has worked with stakeholders and the County to increase enrollment, develop a model and standards for patient centered medical homes (PCMH) for community health centers, including integration of primary and behavioral health care services, and to facilitate workshops on implementation of the patient centered medical home model. The LIHP Project was authorized by the State of California’s 1115 Waiver which established pathways to coverage for California as a bridge to health reform. In San Diego County, over 20,000 low income adults were enrolled in the first six months of the program which began July 1, 2011.   LIHP enrollees will be automatically eligible for the Medi-Cal Program on January 1, 2014.

SDHCC Principles and Required Elements for Health Reform resulted from the series of forums and roundtables which documented consensus positions on a wide range of health coverage and health reform topics. Our Principles have been used to educate the community and inform legislators about local positions, needs and priorities. 

Community Forums and Consensus Building has and continues to be a core SDHCC activity.  Between 2004 and 2009, SDHCC held numerous, well-attended community forums, roundtables, and focus groups on health coverage and health reform.  Presentations featured notable national experts on a wide range of topics focused on health systems change and reform.  Audience participation and interaction was enhanced through the use of an audience participation system to pose question and identify consensus.  These events were used to educate and inform our community, build community consensus and further refine our Principles and initiatives.  Forum presentations and materials are available under SDHCC Publications.

A pilot demonstration projects emerged from these forums for a three-share pilot health coverage project for the working uninsured in San Diego – a three-share project includes funding for coverage from the employer, employee and government.  Legislation for the pilot was introduced by Senator Denise Ducheny (SB 51) and cosponsored by SDHCC and the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce; the legislation was formally supported by over 60 organizations.  While the pilot demonstration project and legislation enjoyed strong bipartisan support, the legislation was ultimately set aside by the legislature as it represented a competing initiative to Governor Schwarzenegger’s plans for statewide health reform. Read an overview of SB 51 here

The first SDHCC initiative after formation was the San Diego Business Healthcare Connection (BHC).  The BHC was formed to provide outreach, education and assistance to the business community.  Through the BHC, relationships were established with many business associations throughout the County; the BHC served as the health policy resource to these organizations.  The BHC established broker partnerships with the local brokers association (San Diego Association of Health Underwriters) and their members to refer businesses wishing to pursue coverage.  Partnerships were also established with other organizations employing Certified Application Assistors (CAA) for public program assistance to employees.  The BHC conducted outreach and education programs to business for many health related initiatives, including business continuity planning for pandemic influenza.  In the last half of 2009, the bulk of BHC operations were essentially terminated until viable options for expanding meaningful, affordable coverage for business and individuals could be identified.