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CPEHN's San Diego Convening Concludes Focus on Equity Series

CPEHN's San Diego Convening Concludes Focus on Equity Series

CPEHN hosted its final Focus on Equity: Communities of Color in Post-ACA California convening series today in San Diego. Like our previous three events, this one focused on Health for All efforts to expand access to affordable coverage to everyone regardless of immigration status, strategies to integrate behavioral and physical health services, and ways to include equity considerations when evaluating and improving health care quality.

Marty Adelman from the Council of Community Clinics started things off with a presentation on current behavioral health integration efforts in San Diego. He stressed that integrating behavioral health and primary care services can improve both components by reducing stigma, closing the mortality gap, and limiting costs.

He also noted that while it's still early in the behavioral health integration process, we are seeing significant improvements. There is also a need to spread the word about behavioral health integration career opportunities for social work students and others interested in pursuing jobs in behavioral health services.

Betsy Estudillo from the California Immigrant Policy Center followed with a presentation on Health for All efforts to expand affordable health coverage to California's undocumented immigrant population. She noted that Health for All for many really is a matter of life or death because many people are unable to access the vital services they desperately need. She told the story of one community member she had met during her advocacy work who, because she was undocumented and uninsured, did not find out she had cancer until it was too late. She was given six months to live, but Estudillo noted that this woman was still passionate about expanding coverage to immigrants. "It may be too late for me," she said, "but it's not too late for Health for All!"

CPEHN's Cary Sanders gave the final presentation of the day, focusing on improving quality of care while considering equity measures. Currently, the focus is on the "triple aim" of population health, care quality, and cost, but Sanders pointed to the fact that while overall quality is improving, significant inequities remain for California's communities of color. In order to address some of these disparate health outcomes, we need to adopt a fourth aim, equity, when considering how we can improve our overall health system.

Sanders also discussed the demographic characteristics of those who have applied for coverage through the Affordable Care Act and who will remain uninsured.

Thanks to everyone who attended our events for some great discussions on these important topics. Be sure to check back in this space for more information on Health for All, behavioral health integration, and the "quadruple aim" for addressing health care quality.

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