California has the highest number of people experiencing homelessness in the nation. To help address this pressing challenge, county stakeholders in California are pursuing cross-sector partnerships to improve coordination of services for people experiencing homelessness.
In California’s Kings and Tulare Counties, two health plans, Anthem Blue Cross and HealthNet, are collaborating with the local Continuum of Care, Kings/Tulare Homeless Alliance (KTHA), to address systemic health-related social needs and health disparities among people experiencing homelessness. Their initial focus has been on enhancing the Coordinated Entry System (CES) process managed by KTHA. The CES process serves as the crucial first step in connecting people experiencing homelessness with housing resources. The partners are actively identifying and addressing any disparities within the CES process to ensure equitable access to housing supports.
This webinar delved into the early partnership efforts between KTHA, Anthem, and HealthNet and explored how the partners are working together to prioritize equity in addressing the needs of people experiencing homelessness. In particular, it shared the team’s processes designed to ensure equity in identifying individuals for enhanced supports, including new CalAIM services.
This webinar was the second in a two-part series, Cross-Sector Partnerships to Support People Experiencing Homelessness, made possible by the California Health Care Foundation that is highlighting innovative partnerships in California to improve services for unhoused populations.
I. Welcome and Introductions
Speaker: Shannon Mead, Program Officer, Center for Health Care Strategies (CHCS)
S. Mead welcomed participants and provided an overview of the Partnerships for Action: California Health Care & Homelessness Learning Collaborative, which is supporting cross-sector teams of health care and homeless services organizations in improving care delivery and health and housing outcomes for Californians experiencing homelessness.
II. Integrating More Equitable Practices into Policies and Procedures
Speakers: Nai Kasick, Vice President, Medi-Cal Lead, HealthNet; Miguel Perez, Program Manager- Regional Housing Strategy, Anthem Blue Cross; Leticia Hinojosa, Co-Director, KTHA; and Melissa McCarthy, Racial Equity Coordinator, KTHA.
N. Kasick and M. Perez provided an overview of how California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) established the foundation for advancing health equity through policy requirements. They also elaborated on the role that managed care plans play in this process and how the managed care plans have supported KTHA in their efforts to prioritize more equitable procedures.
L. Hinojosa and M. McCarthy discussed how partnering with the health plans allowed KTHA to prioritize equity and begin to take action in addressing inequitable policies. They shared their approach for updating KTHA’s policies, how they are modernizing the Coordinated Entry System standards to ensure better outcomes for their clients, and their future goals for more equitable services.
III. Moderated Q&A Panel
Moderator: Kathy Moses, Senior Fellow, CHCS
K. Moses invited Katie League from National Health Care for the Homeless Council to share some opening thoughts about health equity initiatives in the homelessness and health care space and join the speakers for a moderated Q&A panel.