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Health Equity Forum: Community Spotlight – January 2015

Advocates Work to Maximize Benefit of My Health LA

By Sonya Vasquez, Policy Director, Community Health Councils, Inc.

While advocates urge California lawmakers to extend health coverage to the remaining uninsured not eligible under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services (DHS) and Board of Supervisors have taken action with My Health LA (MHLA). Launched in late 2014, MHLA is a primary care program for low-income uninsured LA County residents. To date, over 56,000 individuals have enrolled into a medical home.

Until a state program is enacted, MHLA provides an option for LA County’s undocumented population and serves as a model for other counties. However, the LA Health4All coalition has identified several concerns, such as:

  • MHLA is not an insurance program,  
  • There is no comprehensive outreach and education plan, 
  • The current estimated capacity is 146,000 despite 400,000 eligible residents, and
  • There are programmatic limitations, such as a fragmented framework which includes primary care at community clinics and specialty, urgent, and emergency care at county facilities.   

The coalition formed in 2013 to increase health care access and improve the quality of care for LA County’s remaining uninsured and those left out of the ACA. LA Health4All includes over 20 organizations that represent hundreds of thousands of LA County residents.  Most recently, the group worked closely with DHS and the Community Clinic Association of Los Angeles County to steward a stakeholder process and host community forums about MHLA. Over 150 consumers attended four forums across LA County in the fall of 2014.  We are preparing a detailed synopsis with recommendations to address key concerns highlighted by consumers.  

LA Health4All also supports and provides a local perspective to statewide Health4All efforts. The LA program will provide invaluable experience that can inform a statewide program designed  with and for consumers.  

LA Health4All members include (this is not a complete list):  

  • California Immigrant Policy Center
  • California Partnership
  • Clinica Monseñor Oscar Romero
  • Community Health Councils
  • Health Access
  • Immigrant Youth Coalition
  • Korean Resource Center of Los Angeles
  • Maternal and Child Health Access
  • Vision y Compromiso

For information about LA Health4All, contact Community Health Councils’ Policy Director, Sonya Vasquez.