County agency to target parolees, probationers in Medi-Cal enrollment campaign

RIVERSIDE – The Board of Supervisors accepted a $1.4 million state grant today for the Riverside County Department of Public Social Services to use for Medi-Cal enrollment campaigns targeting the homeless, jail detainees, parolees, probationers, immigrants and non-English speakers.

The California Department of Health Care Services awarded the Medi-Cal Outreach and Enrollment funding, which was authorized in last year’s state budget under legislation implemented in response to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, often called ”Obamacare.”

According to DPSS officials, an estimated 88,000 uninsured people who reside in the county are eligible for Medi-Cal as a result of changes in the law. Medi-Cal functions as the state’s Medicaid program, providing federally mandated health-care services to the poor.

The Medi-Cal Outreach and Enrollment allocation must support ”services and activities” geared to raising awareness about subsidized health insurance eligibility and availability, according to the Department of Health Care Services. The agency said the following ”targeted populations” are intended to benefit from outreach efforts:

— people with mental health disorders;

— people with substance abuse issues;

— the homeless;

— ”young men of color”;

— county jail inmates;

— parolees;

— probationers;

— ”families with mixed immigration status”; and

— people with limited or no English proficiency.

”The county shall ensure the needs of the targeted populations are understood and provide information and assistance in a culturally and linguistically appropriate method at no cost to the individual, including the provision of oral interpretation … to ensure effective communication,” DHCS’s allocation agreement with the county stipulates.

According to the compact, DPSS must spend 50 percent of funds on collaborative enrollment strategies that rely on assistance from community- based organizations

Riverside County was among 36 counties throughout the state awarded outreach funds, according to DHCS officials.

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