Supervisors Push Expanded Healthcare Access

SAN JOSE – Santa Clara County Supervisors Joe Simitian and Otto Lee announced a plan today to bring primary care medical services to more than 20,000 additional residents in Santa Clara County.

The Board of Supervisors’ Health and Hospital Committee (Simitian, Chair; Lee, Vice- Chair) has proposed expansion of the County’s Primary Care Access Program (PCAP) to allow people with income up to 400% of the federal poverty level (FPL) the ability to receive primary care services at community health centers throughout the County. That means a family of four making less than $106,000 would be eligible for services.

Santa Clara County Supervisors will vote on the plan next Tuesday, November 16.

“We started PCAP some years ago to help individuals who would otherwise be without medical services gain access to primary care,” said Simitian. “Expanding coverage for people with income up to 400% FPL, will help us get to those in the “missing middle” – folks who make a modest middle class living but haven’t been able to access health insurance.”

“We live in a community that offers so much to our residents, yet lots of families still don’t have access to medical services in our community,” said Lee. “This expansion program reaches out to our community’s working families and essential workers to help ensure their health—and the health of the community—is secure.”

This proposed expansion would build upon the County’s long history of developing programs that expand access to services through the local healthcare safety net system, including the Ability-to-Pay Determination Program, Healthy Kids, and Valley Care. If expanded as proposed, PCAP would more than triple the number of residents currently served by the program.

“By adopting this expansion, our community health clinic partners would be able to provide services to about one in four residents who are currently uninsured,” said Simitian. “That could be life-changing for many families. The stress and worry of trying to figure out how to pay medical bills would also be greatly reduced.”

Simitian continued, “The world is upside down when you have to ask yourself ‘how poor to I have to be to get healthcare?’”

Valley Health Plan will administer PCAP and, if approved, start rolling out the expanded program in early 2022. They will partner with the County and community health centers to conduct outreach and notify newly eligible individuals about the services available and how to access them.

Primary Care Access Program

“Our community health centers play a vital role in providing affordable and accessible health services for our diverse and multicultural communities regardless of socioeconomic, ethnic, religious or cultural background,” said Dolores Alvarado, CEO of Community Health Partnership. “We are in full support of expanding the PCAP so that more people have access to high quality health services.”

“If we are not healthy, we have really great difficulty in realizing our potential as individuals and as a community. Since I returned to the Board of Supervisors, we’ve been able to cut the number of uninsured residents in half. But for those who remain uninsured, this expanded access will literally be a lifesaver,” said Simitian.



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