Category Archives: News

Two Deals Boosting Healthcare to Immigrants Illegally in U.S. are OK’d in Sacramento


As Gov. Jerry Brown struck a budget deal Tuesday that would offer healthcare to children in the country illegally, Sacramento County supervisors — sitting less than a mile away — also agreed to provide medical care for county residents who lack papers.

The Sacramento Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a plan that includes $5.2 million to pay for primary care and some specialty care for undocumented adults. Officials estimate it will fund care for up to 3,000 of the county’s 50,000 immigrants.

CLICK HERE to read the full story

Covered CA: Preparing for the Next Open Enrollment Period

open_enrollmentAs people all across California prepare for the holiday season, this November marks an especially important time for all Californians. That’s because Nov. 15 is the beginning of the second open enrollment period for Covered CA.

Covered CA, which was put in place as a result of the Affordable Care Act, is California’s own health insurance marketplace. Through Covered CA, California residents can choose from among several quality health insurance plans offered in their region. Those with qualifying incomes can also receive financial assistance when purchasing health plans through Covered CA to help them pay the cost of their monthly premium. Some consumers will also qualify for plans with reduced out-of-pocket costs, including lower co-pays, co-insurance, and deductibles.

As a result of the Affordable Care Act, all plans offered through Covered CA, as well as all health insurance plans offered through the individual and small group markets, also provide coverage for the following 10 essential health benefits:

CLICK HERE to read the full story.

Time for preteens to get HPV Vaccine

HPV_vaccineFall is here and school is now in session. Now is a time when parents often check to make sure their children have received all of their required vaccinations.

Though the Human Papillomavirus vaccine, which protects against cervical cancer, is not required to attend school, it is strongly recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There are vaccines available to protect both males and females against some of the most common types of HPV.

CLICK HERE to read the full story.

Health Centers: Local Engines for Healthier Communities

CHCnew-1024x769Health centers are nonprofit, community-based providers dedicated to serving their community no matter who you are, where you come from or your ability to pay.

They provide comprehensive, high-quality, affordable primary and preventative care. But health centers do more than just provide health care. They’re transforming communities by going above and beyond traditional providers. They set themselves apart by providing a wide range of services to improve the overall health of their patients and communities including patient education, fitness programs, nutrition classes and even enrollment into health insurance programs to help their patients pay for care.

CLICK HERE to read the full story

Locals Reach for Health Care, While Advocates Try to Catch the Uninsured

Richmond Pulse News Report + Photos, Marco Villalobos

See original article at the Richmond Pulse

Beneath a mural depicting salvation outside St. Mark’s Church, Ruben Pedroza stood trying to figure out his family’s health insurance. Inside the church hall, a meeting was underway to educate residents as to what health coverage they might qualify for due to the Affordable Care Act.

Ruben Pedroza speaks with a representative of Contra Costa Interfaith Supporting Community Organization (CCISCO), one of the organizations partnering to host the town hall.

Ruben Pedroza speaks with a representative of Contra Costa ACCE (Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment), one of the organizations partnering to host the town hall.

Although nearly 3.5 million California residents have enrolled in either Covered California (the state’s marketplace) or Medi-Cal since last fall, over 5.8 million Californians remain without coverage. Mr. Pedroza counts his five sons among the uninsured.

In fact, Pedroza says, he’s been the only member of his family with health coverage for years, a situation he is now trying to remedy.

At the heart of the meeting at the church, hosted by Healthy Richmond’s Access to Quality Healthcare Action Team, was a push to inform locals of what health coverage options are available to them and how to access health care, with or without insurance.

“Moving forward, we must acknowledge that there are thousands of individuals in Contra Costa County that will remain uninsured. This event is the first in a series of community-driven efforts that we will organize to elevate the importance of ensuring that everyone has access to comprehensive health care and a quality medical home,” said Alvaro Fuentes, the executive director of the Community Clinic Consortium of Contra Costa and Solano Counties.

In the church hall, panelists discussed details around coverage options and care, specifically for Latinos, who comprise one of the state’s largest workforces. One of the keys to improved and wider coverage, said Dr. Xavier Morales, the executive director of the Latino Coalition for a Healthy California, is the Health for All Act. Also known as State Sen. Ricardo Lara’s SB 1005, the bill proposes to expand health coverage to all Californians, regardless of immigration status.

Ruben Pedroza, pictured here with his son, seeks to secure health care for his family of seven.

Ruben Pedroza, pictured here with his son, seeks to secure health care for his family of seven.

“I feel like whether you are documented or undocumented it should work for everybody,” said Pedroza.

But the act, as pivotal as it could be in ensuring that all residents have access to quality and affordable care, would do little to address the current statewide backlog of 900,000 coverage applicants.

“We’re here tonight because we’ve been having problems with the Covered California plan,” said Pedroza, as his four-year-old son wriggles loose from his arms. “We registered with them a couple of months back and they accepted me and my wife with Kaiser. We tried to enroll our kids with Kaiser and they sent us a letter saying that the kids weren’t qualified, that they would have to qualify through Medi-Cal.”

That letter was the beginning of a struggle that still leaves the Pedrozas between plans in search of a resolution that will provide coverage for their sons.

“We went ahead and applied for Medi-Cal, and Medi-Cal sent us a letter saying that we didn’t qualify for Medi-Cal, that we should enroll in the Covered California plan,” said Pedroza. “So they’re just throwing us back and forth and that’s the reason why we’re here. We’re trying to get answers and find out which way to go with this.”

Richmond locals sign in at a welcoming desk before a Healthy Richmond town hall meeting at St. Marks Church.

Richmond locals sign in at a welcoming desk before a Healthy Richmond town hall meeting at St. Marks Church.

As he sat down with a group of attendees, he motioned for a headset. His wife, recently granted residency in the state, wanted to listen in on panelists via the live translation taking place.

Regardless of the status of one’s application, assured Dr. William Walker, director and health officer of Contra Costa Health Services, “If you signed up and need care, you can be covered retroactively.”

Given his difficulty in securing coverage, Pedroza doubts the reliability of more universal access to coverage. “They’re trying to get everybody into the health plan but it’s not working, you know? [My] kids are stuck in the middle,” he says. He headed off in search of some reassurance that this time he was getting closer to health care for his sons.

Having a smoke free summer

world-no-tobacco-daySaturday, May 31st, was World No-Tobacco Day 2014, a day intended to highlight the risks associated with tobacco use and the need for effective policies to reduce tobacco consumption.

In support of this day, the World Health Organization and partners around the globe are engaging in efforts to raise awareness and to advocate for policies such as increased taxes on tobacco.

Despite campaigns like World No Tobacco Day and the tremendous strides the United States has made in recognizing the harmful effects of tobacco, tobacco use still remains the leading preventable cause of death in the U.S, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

According to the 2014 Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health, smoking cigarettes and exposure to secondhand smoke result in one in five deaths in the U.S. each year – roughly 480,000 people.

Smoking tobacco not only leads to increased risk of heart disease, stroke and lung cancer, but it also increases the risk of death from all causes for both men and women, according to the CDC. Smoking tobacco can also negatively impact pregnancy and birth outcomes, oral health, vision and bone health, and can increase the risk of developing diabetes and many types of cancer.

Not only is smoking bad for your health, but it is also bad for your wallet, with smoking-related diseases resulting in roughly $96 billion in health care costs each year, according to the CDC

Though only 13.8 percent of adults in California are estimated to be smokers, a recent presentation to the Board of Supervisors by the Solano County Health Promotion and Community Wellness Bureau stated that more than 21 percent of adults in Solano County are smokers, and more than 10 percent of ninth- through 12th-graders smoke. According to the Solano County Tobacco Prevention and Education Program, tobacco use results in the death of more than 780 Solano County residents each year.

While all of this may seem like bad news, the good news is that quitting smoking and the use of other tobacco products will have tremendously positive impact on your health. According to the CDC, after one year of cessation, your risk of developing heart disease will drop dramatically. After two to five years of being smoke free, your risk of stroke could return to the same level as a nonsmoker. And within five years, your risk of developing cancer in the mouth, throat, esophagus and bladder will drop by half.

Thankfully, in Solano County there are many resources available to help those who are interested in quitting the use of tobacco products. The Solano County Tobacco Prevention and Education Program can provide you with information on resources in your area, including in-person and online classes.

Visit for more information. In addition, you can visit your local community health center to find out what health education and tobacco cessation services they offer.

So, in honor of this year’s World No Tobacco Day, consider the ways in which you can improve your health and the health of your community by reducing your exposure to tobacco this summer.

Whether you want to quit smoking, encourage a family member to do so, or advocate for different policies in your community, there are a lot of ways to improve your health by reducing your exposure to tobacco and having a smoke free summer.

Morgan Westfall is a Project Coordinator at the Community Clinic Consortium, which is a member of Solano Coalition for Better Health.

Healthcare Town Hall Meeting


Learn More About Healthcare Benefits for the Immigrant Latino Community*

May 20, 2014
6:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
St. Marks Catholic Church,
159 Harbour Way
Richmond, CA, 94801

Since the launch of the Affordable Care Act last fall, nearly 3.5 million people enrolled in either Covered California or Medi-Cal. Today, over 5.8 million Californians still remain uninsured.

Join us at an Educational Town Hall meeting on May 20th to learn about what legal statuses and healthcare benefits you may be eligible for.*

  • What is DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) status and are you eligible?
  • What legal status categories are eligible for PRUCOL (Permanently Residing Under Color of Law) or Emergency Medi-Cal?
  • How do you apply for health coverage for your children?
  • What is happening at the state level and local level to ensure a health care safety net for all is established?

Free Services

  • Childcare
  • Food
  • Parking
  • Print Resources
  • Certified Health Enrollment
  • Counselors
  • Immigration Rights Lawyers
  • Panelists from: Latino Coalition for a Healthy California, Catholic Charities of the East Bay, Contra Costa Health Services, Contra Costa County

This Town Hall meeting is organized by Healthy Richmond’s Access to Quality Healthcare (AQH) Action Team.

Contact Healthy Richmond at 510-307-5747 or
for more information.

*You do not need to have legal status to attend. Future events for other immigrant communities are being coordinated and will take place soon.



Foro Público del Cuidado de la Salud

20 de Mayo, 2014
6:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
St. Marks Catholic Church
159 Harbour Way
Richmond, CA, 94801

Aprenda Más Sobre los Beneficios de Salud para la Comunidad Inmigrante Latina*

Desde el lanzamiento de la Ley del Cuidado de Salud a Bajo Precio (Affordable Care Act) el otoño pasado, cerca de 3.5 millones de personas se han inscrito en Covered California o Medi-Cal. Hoy en día, más de 5.8 millones de Californianos aún permanecen sin seguro de salud.
Únase a nosotros el 20 de Mayo en el Foro Público para aprender más sobre categorías de estado legal y beneficios de salud para los cuales usted pueda ser elegible.*

  • ¿Que es el estado legal de DACA (Acción Diferida para los Llegadas en la Infancia) y eres elegible?
  • ¿Qué categorías de estado legal son elegibles para PRUCOL (Residencia Permanente bajo apariencia de legalidad) o Medi-Cal de Emergencia?
  • ¿Cómo solicitar cobertura de salud para sus hijos?
  • ¿Que esta pasando al nivel estatal y local para asegurar que un red de cuidado de salud estará creada para todos?

Servicios Gratuitos

  • Cuidado de Niños
  • Comida
  • Estacionamiento
  • Recursos
  • Consejeros de Inscripción
  • Certificados
  • Abogados que se especializan en Derechos de Inmigración
  • Panelistas de: Coalición Latina para una California Saludable, Catholic Charities of the East Bay, Contra Costa Health Services, Contra Costa County

Este foro público fue organizado por el Grupo de Acción para el Acceso de Cuidado de la Salud (Access to Quality Healthcare Action Team, AQH, Action Team), parte de la iniciativa de Healthy Richmond.

Para más información, contacte Healthy Richmond a través de o 510-307-5747.

*No necessita estado legal para atender. Eventos futuros para otras comunidades de

inmigrantes están siendo coordinadas y se llevará a cabo pronto.

Understanding your Health Insurance


Understanding_Health_Insurance_Plan_Types_1April marks the end of California’s first open-enrollment period, during which more than 3 million Californians signed up for new health insurance coverage.

As more Californians gain access to health insurance, however, it is important for consumers to understand how to use their newly acquired insurance.

A 2013 study by the Journal of Health Economics found that many consumers don’t fully understand the details of their health insurance plan. Of those consumers surveyed in the study, only 14 percent were able to explain the differences between basic insurance concepts such as deductibles and co-pays.

One way consumers can get a better handle on their health insurance policy is by understanding the different types of cost associated with their plan. There are typically four different types of cost included in a health insurance plan: Premiums, co-pays, co-insurance and deductibles. It’s important to factor in all of these different types of costs when picking a plan and using it.

Now, let’s review what some of these terms mean.

A health insurance premium is the amount of money a person pays periodically – usually monthly – to buy an insurance plan. In order to keep your health insurance, you must continue paying this amount for your entire benefit year.

A co-pay or co-insurance is separate from what you pay for your premium. These terms refer to the amount you have to pay out of your own pocket every time you go to the doctor or receive a service. A co-pay is a fixed amount that you pay for a service. For example, the $20 you pay every time you see your doctor would be a type of co-pay. Co-insurance refers to the percentage of the cost of a service that you are responsible for paying. Some plans charge either co-pays or co-insurance, while others may include a combination of the two.

A final type of cost that is important to understand is a deductible. A deductible is the amount a consumer must pay each year before their health insurance will start paying for a portion of their health care costs. For example, if you purchased a plan with a $500 deductible, this means that you will have to pay $500 out of your own pocket in addition to your monthly premium before your health insurance will start paying for you. Before you meet that deductible, you will be responsible for paying the full cost of any services you receive. Co-pays and co-insurance costs will come into effect after you have reached the deductible in the plan you have chosen.

Thankfully, most plans are now required to have an out-of-pocket maximum. This means that there is a limit on how much you are expected to pay out-of-pocket through deductibles, co-pays and co-insurance during the policy year before your insurance will cover 100 percent of your health care costs. Most health plans are also required to cover preventative services and screenings, such as mammograms and pap smears at no cost to you.

While many of these costs may seem overwhelming, especially if you’ve never had health insurance, it’s important to remember that having health insurance can not only protect your health but can also protect you financially in the event of an emergency or unforeseen medical circumstance. Ultimately, this will enable you to take the preventative measures necessary to protect your health today and ensure a healthy future for tomorrow.

Morgan Westfall is a Project Coordinator for the Community Clinic Consortium, which is a partner of the Solano Coalition for Better Health.

Listen to your heart

HeartMonth-FebruaryBy Morgan Westfall

Though Valentine’s Day, along with February’s American Heart Month, has passed, Americans should still be thinking about their hearts. That’s because continual promotion of good heart health and awareness of heart disease is important.

Heart disease, which refers to several types of heart conditions, is the leading cause of death for both men and women in America. It results in roughly 600,000 deaths per year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Coronary artery disease is the most common type of heart disease in the United States and can lead to angina (chest pain), heart attack, heart failure and arrhythmias, according to the CDC. The main risk factors for heart disease are high blood pressure, high cholesterol and smoking. There are also several other risk factors for heart disease, including having diabetes, being overweight or obese, poor diet, physical inactivity  and excessive use of alcohol,  according to the American Heart Association.

According to both the CDC and the American Heart Association, there are many things you can do to reduce your risk of heart disease. Remember to eat a healthy diet low in saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol and sodium. You should also exercise regularly, maintain a healthy weight, limit your alcohol use and avoid smoking.

Another great way to maintain or improve your heart health is to make sure you have the health coverage you need. Having access to health insurance allows you to get your cholesterol and blood pressure checked regularly, both of which are key in understanding your risk for heart disease. In addition, having access to health coverage allows you to access preventative care as well as timely treatment if you do develop heart disease.

According to the National Health Interview Survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly 7.3 million Americans with cardiovascular disease were uninsured before implementation of the Affordable Care Act. In addition, according to the American Heart Association, being uninsured puts people at greater risk for cardiovascular disease and stroke.

Thankfully now that implementation of the Affordable Healthcare Act is well under way, you can get the health coverage you need to really keep your heart doing its best. Here in California, consumers who are uninsured now have access to health insurance through either Covered CA or expanded Medi-Cal. Those who purchase coverage through Covered CA may even have access to financial assistance, in addition to being able to choose between quality plans that cover the 10 essential health benefits.

In addition to new coverage options being made available under the Affordable Care Act, consumers can also no longer be denied health insurance because of pre-existing conditions such as high blood pressure or a congenital heart defect. This means that people who already have heart disease or risk factors for it can no longer be denied access to insurance because of these conditions.

For more information about what new coverage options may be available to you, go to You can also visit your local community health center to find out more information about signing up for health coverage, as well as resources for keeping your heart healthy.

Whether you want to start eating healthier, exercising more, or getting enrolled into health insurance coverage, now is the perfect time to take the steps you need to keep your heart healthy!

Morgan Westfall is a Project Coordinator at the Community Clinic Consortium, a partner of Solano Coalition for Better Health.

Contra Costa County Hosts Health Coverage Enrollment Fair

Certified Enrollment Counselors (CECs) were on hand to help enrollment efforts into Covered California and Medi-Cal at a health coverage fair in Concord on Saturday, February 22.

Despite technical difficulties faced with the Covered California website, CECs and event staff helped over 130 participants learn more about new and affordable health coverage options. Approximately 77 participants were able to enroll into Covered California and Medi-Cal.

Check out Community Clinic Consortium’s Project Coordinator, Morgan Westfall, speaking on the importance of in-person enrollment assistance.

For more information on upcoming local events and opportunities to enroll in health coverage, click here for our event calendar.

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