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Fighting to save funding for FQHC's

In September, the Community Health Center Fund, which provides funding for federally qualified health centers through the Affordable Care Act, was in jeopardy because Congress failed to act. The deadline for renewing the funding passed by several months before an agreement was eventually made in February to extend funding by just two years. See comments from the Clinic Consortium’s Community Affairs Manager, Laura Sheckler in the first two articles below.

Read about the local impact in Richmond

Read about the state impact on health centers

Read about what is in the budget Congress passed 


Telemundo and Univision cover CARES program

Telemundo 48 and Univision both have news coverage of the Contra Costa CARES program on their websites, helping to spread the word about this great service.

Check out the videos here and here

Families Rely on Medicaid Services to Stay Healthy

Working families rely on Medicaid to stay healthy & provide their children with access to care. Read this powerful story about one family’s experience.

“All of the healthcare access made available through Medicaid meant that our daughter could be supported in her development and excel. We saw the impact daily, in the ways she developed physically, cognitively and started to achieve various developmental milestones,” says the mom of a child with special health care needs.

Read the full story here.

In Solano County, As People Leave Jail and Prison, Clinics Connect Them to Needed Health Services

Many people leaving jail or prison are eligible for Medi-Cal coverage, due to expanded eligibility with the Affordable Care Act, providing them with comprehensive health care services. New programs have been created to target their unique needs, and connect them with a primary care medical home and support. In Solano County, La Clínica North Vallejo has a new program to help formerly incarcerated people transition back to the community.

These programs are showing success in helping people return to their communities and avoid costly returns to jail or prison. Changes to the ACA that cut Medicaid programs would be a threat to the monumental gains that have been made.


Read the full blog post on the California Health Care Foundation’s website here.

Medi-Cal Has Solano Covered

Laura Sheckler, Community Affairs Manager at the Community Clinic Consortium, writes about the importance of Medi-Cal in our Solano County community. A significant part of how residents access health care services is through Medi-Cal, which provides low-cost, or no-cost health insurance for more than 13 million Californians. This includes low-income families, children, pregnant women, seniors and people living with disabilities.

“Medi-Cal is available to provide health coverage to the people who need it most, when they need it most,” she writes.

Read the full article in the Daily Republic here.

Opinion: Expanding Contra Costa jail is a flawed policy

Alvaro Fuentes, Executive Director of the Community Clinic Consortium, writes about the concerns of community leaders and health care providers in a recent Op-Ed about the West Contra Costa County jail expansion.

“As health care providers and community leaders, we understand the need to provide humane conditions for individuals who are incarcerated. However, we believe it is more prudent to invest in community-based efforts to improve the health and wellness of all residents, not $25 million in construction and more than $5 million annually for running a massive new jail facility,” he writes.

Read the full Op-Ed here.

Health Centers Lower Cost of Children's Care by 35 Percent

Doctor examining little boy

Community health centers lower the cost of children’s primary care by 35%, compared to other providers. Health centers are reducing overall costs, while providing comprehensive, high-quality care. Money is saved, in part, by offering a broad range of outpatient services under one roof or in one visit – thus decreasing fragmentation of care.

The full report, “Community Health Centers Reduce the Costs of Children’s Health Care,” can be accessed here.


Contra Costa Health Care Town Hall

Health Care TownHall - Jan 28

Join the dialogue on how together, we will strive to Preserve Health Care for All

There is a statewide movement to resist efforts to dismantle our health care systems. Come and learn how we will be a part of this statewide movement to ensure that all residents have life-saving and quality health care.

Speakers include: Congressman Mark DeSaulnier, Congressman George Miller (Ret.)

When: January 28, 2017; 10:30am-12:00pm

Where: First Christian Church of Concord (3039 Willow Pass Rd, Concord CA 94519)

See the event flyer here

Dramatic Expansions in California's County Health Care Safety-Net Detailed in Health Access Report

A new report from Health Access, “Profiles of Progress: California Counties Taking Steps to a More Inclusive and Smarter Safety-Net,” details dramatic changes to California’s health care safety net programs at the county level. While the Affordable Care Act has expanded coverage options, counties have been left to figure out how to provide care for the remaining uninsured, including undocumented individuals who are excluded from federal help. Counties have responded in various ways, from providing new benefits to those already covered to expanding coverage options to undocumented individuals.

CLICK HERE to view the full report.


California counties add health care for immigrant adults

Jane-UndocumentedCalifornia’s Contra Costa County, east of San Francisco, voted Tuesday to restore primary health care services to undocumented adults living in the county.

Contra Costa County joins 46 other California counties that have agreed to provide non-emergency care to immigrants who entered the country illegally.

“Providing health care coverage to all is not only about the human morality issue that we should address, but also from a cost-effective point of view … this is absolutely the right thing,” said Jane Garcia, CEO of La Clínica de la Raza, which serves 25,000 patients in Contra Costa, many of them low-income Latinos.

Adult immigrants who are undocumented are not able to participate state health exchanges under the Affordable Care Act, but can get emergency care in hospitals.

The program is not full scope insurance, but will provide preventive care. Health care providers and other supporters say that increasing access to preventive services will cut down visits to the emergency room and save the county money in the long run.

CLICK HERE to read the full story

Contra Costa County Expands Access to Healthcare for Undocumented Adults

September 22, 2015

CCCares[Martinez, CA] – The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors approved a plan today in a 4-1 vote to expand access to healthcare for residents regardless of immigration status. The decision comes six years after the Board voted to bar undocumented adults from participating in the County’s Basic Health Care Plan.

“Today was a huge victory in bridging the gap of health equity in Contra Costa County.  The Contra Costa CARES program demonstrates the commitment of our elected officials and healthcare leaders to work together for the benefit of everyone in this county,” said Alvaro Fuentes, Executive Director of the Community Clinic Consortium representing community health centers in Contra Costa County. “The vote today echoes the voices of thousands of individuals – locally and statewide – committed to improving the health of their communities by ensuring that everyone has access to quality and affordable health care.”

The approved plan will allocate $500,000 in County funding toward the program. Led by the Consortium, a diverse set of public and private health systems stakeholders developed the program to help meet the healthcare needs of those not covered by the Affordable Care Act. Several local partners who participated in the development of Contra Costa CARES are anticipated to match the County’s contribution. As a result, the program is expected to be implemented with a total of $1,000,000 to serve approximately 3,000 residents. Meanwhile, estimates from the UC Berkeley Labor Center show that in Contra Costa County the undocumented population may be closer to 19,000.

The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors’ decision comes on the heels of Monterey County’s expansion of healthcare access for undocumented residents. This year, 35 rural counties in California and Sacramento County also expanded access to healthcare for undocumented adults and expansion of Medi-Cal access to undocumented children in the state was approved in the Governor’s budget. Contra Costa represents the 47th county in the state to provide access to healthcare for its undocumented adult population. 

National Health Center Week Has Officially Begun!

NationalHealthCenterWeekPresident Barack Obama has officially Proclaimed August 9th- 15th National Health Center Week, 2015! Check out the official White House Proclamation and be sure to send us your state and local #NHCW15 Proclamations for us to share and post on the HCW website!

We are also pleased to share brand new Health Center data and NHCW infographics created by the NACHC research team. Check out these great new resources and take advantage of the custom Health Center infographic tool to customize a #NHCW15 infographic for your Health Center!

Help us spread the word about NHCW on social media: Use the hashtag #NHCW15 to let everyone know how you are celebrating this year! Help spread the word and make Health Center Week the biggest and best yet! Check out our #NHCW15 social media post guide for sample posts! Helpful tip: use social media to thank your elected officials for their support by tagging and communicating with them directly! Don’t be shy, ask elected officials to post about National Health Center Week on their social media pages using the hashtag #NHCW15.

After lots of planning and hard work, National Health Center Week 2015 (August 9-15) has finally arrived and it is time to celebrate! At thousands of events and in hundreds of ways across the country, Health Center staff, board members, patients, community leaders, and other Health Center advocates are celebrating the great work that Health Centers do in bringing high-quality, cost effective, and accessible care to millions of patients.

Best Wishes for a Wonderful Week of Celebrations – Happy National Health Center Week 2015!

CLICK HERE to watch the video “Health Centers: Paving the Road to Good Health

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.

Family Planning Squeezed In California By Health Law

tablet-medical-testsAn unexpected quirk in the Affordable Care Act has left birth control clinics struggling to balance their budgets in California.

Clinics that have long enjoyed state support to run as nonprofits are having to rethink how to stay in business.

Take the Planned Parenthood clinic in Concord, about 30 miles east of San Francisco. Priscilla Castillo is surrounded by a rainbow of insurance forms patients fill out when they come to the clinic. They won’t have to much longer, though, because the clinic is moving to a new electronic system.

It’s the clinic’s latest attempt to cut costs in the age of Obamacare. At the start of the New Year, the vast majority of their patients became eligible for Medicaid.

CLICK HERE to read the full story

LifeLong Medical Care‘s Berkeley Primary Care Earns National Recognition for Patient-Centered Care

LifeLong Medical Care’s Berkeley Primary Care health center has received recognition as a Level Three Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) from the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA). This highest level of recognition is for using evidence-based, patient-centered processes that focus on highly coordinated care and long-term participative relationships. The patient-centered medical home is a model of care emphasizing care coordination and communication to transform primary care into “what patients want it to be.”

“The patient-centered medical home raises the bar in defining high-quality care by emphasizing access, health information technology and partnerships between clinicians and patients. PCMH Recognition shows that LifeLong Berkeley Primary Care has the tools, systems, and resources to provide their patients with the right care at the right time,” said NCQA President Margaret E. O’Kane.

Level 3 PCMH recognition highlights LifeLong’s commitment to provide high-quality health and social services to underserved people of all ages; create models of care for the elderly, people with disabilities and families; and advocate for continuous improvements in the health of our communities.

CLICK HERE to read the full story


Grants Awarded to Community Medical Centers

November 08, 2013 12:00 AM

STOCKTON – The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on Thursday awarded a $691,667 grant to Community Medical Centers Inc. to help it establish a new health center service delivery site.

The grant was part of a $30.6 million package awarded to support 46 new health center sites throughout California serving a largely poor population.

The funds, made available by the Affordable Care Act, will help care for approximately 333,187 additional Californians. Nationwide, 236 health center programs will receive approximately $150 million in grant awards to serve more than1.25 million additional patients.

Health centers such as Stockton-based Community Medical Centers, with 13 clinics in San Joaquin and Solano counties, work to improve a region’s health by ensuring access to comprehensive, culturally competent, quality primary health care services.


ACA Brings Big Changes for Addiction Treatment

aca-updateThe Affordable Care Act recognizes drug addiction and alcoholism as chronic diseases that must be covered by health insurance plans, marking a major transformation of addiction care, reports. The biggest change is that 40 million people could enter substance abuse treatment, opening a huge market for addiction care.

CLICK HERE to read the full story.


Richmond Residents Struggle to Understand Obamacare

obamacare-300x269Richmond Confidential

By Fareed Abdulrahman

Confusion and concern: That’s what most of the 50 Richmond residents expressed last week during a workshop about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), President Obama’s subsidized health coverage that’s commonly called Obamacare.

“There is a lot of confusion about what Obamacare is, and what the details are,” said Morgan Westfall, the event organizer and project coordinator at Community Clinic Consortium, an advocacy group that helps Contra Costa and Solano County residents with health and quality-of-life issues.

“We want to make sure that people understand it clearly,” she said to the crowd.

President Obama signed the health reform bill into law in 2010 and although some provisions are already in place, the act will go into effect in its entirety in January 2014. Until then, community organizations are holding workshops such as the one held last week at Civic Center Plaza in Richmond to educate those who could benefit from the reform. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the law intends to make preventive care — including family planning — more accessible and affordable.


Planned Parenthood opens new clinic Wednesday in San Rafael

nmij0619parenthood05Planned Parenthood, which has been operating in Mill Valley for nearly three years after an organizational shake-up, will reopen a newly remodeled San Rafael office Wednesday and shutter its Mill Valley site.

The clinic will provide birth control, breast and cervical cancer screening, testing and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases, HIV testing, emergency contraception and abortion care, among other health services — including services for men.

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Planned Parenthood Finally Returns to Oakland After Long Hiatus

plannedparenthood-oaklandFor the last two years, Oakland has been without its own Planned Parenthood, which meant patients had to trek to Walnut Creek, El Cerrito, or San Francisco in order to receive care. But trek no more — Planned Parenthood has opened its doors in Oakland again.

The West Oakland clinic will offer the usual: pregnancy testing, STD testing and treatment, birth control, and emergency contraception. However, it will not provide abortions, which should keep those rabid protesters at bay. Instead, the new clinic will offer abortion referrals to other Mar Monte locations. And, like all Planned Parenthood locations, this one will serve patients with and without insurance coverage.

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Oakley's low-cost clinic doing booming business, yet finances are uncertain

LaClinica_oakleyNearly 18 months after opening, Oakley’s clinic for those with little or no health insurance is, by all appearances, thriving.

Those keeping an eye on the bottom line are more apt to describe its financial health as guarded, however.

“It’s a chronic condition,” said La Clínica de la Raza’s Chief Executive Officer Jane Garcia said with a rueful laugh as she described the struggle to keep her organization’s clinics in the black now that future funding from a major revenue source is in question.

The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors is scheduled to consider awarding a one-time grant of $300,000 on Tuesday, but even if it does, Garcia doesn’t know what will happen when that money runs out.

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Join Us June 4th to Protect Healthcare Access in California!

Join Planned Parenthood Shasta Pacific and We Care for California (WCCA) in Sacramento on June 4th to stop cuts that hurt access to health care for low-income Californians, including Planned Parenthood clients.

Please help us show strength by joining thousands of supporters at this historic rally in support of two bills (SB 640 and AB 900) that would block devastating cuts to Medi-Cal.
When: Tuesday, June 4
Time: 11:00am-4:00pm
Where: California State Capitol, Sacramento

There is no charge to participate and lunch/snacks and a t-shirt will be provided. There are limited seats available and you must RSVP by May 31 to participate in this event. Bus transportation is being organized across the state, exact pick-up locations will be provided after we have received your registration.

Please direct any inquiries to Marsha at


West Oakland Middle School Opens Health Center

WestOakMiddleSchoolThe West Oakland Middle School community recently celebrated the opening of a new school-based health and family resource center, made possible by Lifelong Medical Care, Alameda County, the City of Oakland, and Safe Passages.

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LifeLong Medical Care and the Journey to Patient-Centered Medical Home Recognition

LifeLongLogoLifeLong Medical Care, located in Alameda County, California, is transforming the way they deliver care. Listen as LifeLong staff describe their roles and perspectives on becoming a Patient-Centered Medical Home

CLICK HERE to watch the video.



Expanding Breast Health Initiative to Promotores Program in Contra Costa County

PPSP_promotoresSupported by a grant awarded by the Planned Parenthood national office, PPSP is pleased to be adding breast health information and education into our successful Promotores program, La Vida Actual, El Habla Actual, which provides reproductive health information and education for Monument Corridor residents in Contra Costa County. As part of the initiative, health educator and Promotores program leader Natalia Tocino attended a train-the-trainer program in Atlanta with Planned Parenthood staff from across the nation in late January. Now back home, Natalia will train our Promotores to include breast health in our regular communications about reproductive health, promote breast health through one-on-one contact at outreach events and trainings, as well as train the remaining and new Promotores to incorporate breast health in their outreach efforts.


No-Cost Health Care Plan Takes Burden Off Low-Income

healthcare-group_1One of the provisions in the ACA would expand Medicaid, the federal-state safety net for low-income Americans. Among other things, the expansion eliminates some of the current eligibility requirements in Medicaid, like the so-called “asset test” where an individual cannot have financial assets exceeding $2,000, as well as the requirement that an individual has to have a child under 21.

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Mobile clinic provides free dental care for low-income children in Contra Costa County

Child-dental-health_1La Clinica de La Raza, a local nonprofit clinic that is part of public-private partnership using the mobile clinic to provide free dental care to low-income children through age 19 in Contra Costa County. The clinic also visits elementary schools, primarily in the Pittsburg Unified School District, where a majority of the students are low-income.

CLICK HERE to read the full story.