Counties in the central San Joaquin Valley have been awarded $1.6 million to increase enrollment in Medi-Cal under the Affordable Care Act.
The counties are among 36 agencies statewide getting $23 million in grants from The California Endowment, a private statewide health organization.
The grants, a joint effort with the California Department of Health Care Services, are designed to help increase awareness about Medi-Cal and to enroll hard-to-reach populations.
The grants will cover enrollment activities from next month through to June 30, 2016.
Counties must make at least half of the funding available to community-based organizations to help connect with various groups, such as the homeless, parolees, people on probation, families of mixed-immigration status, young men of color, and people with mental health or substance abuse needs, the Department of Health Care Services said Tuesday.
The Valley grants: Fresno County, $741,971; Tulare County, $449,722; Merced County, $193,354; Madera County, $122,166; and Kings County, $100,000.
Since the launch of the Affordable Care Act in October, Fresno County has accepted Medi-Cal applications from 28,000 people -- about half of the eligible population for the federal/state health insurance for the low income, said Sanja K. Bugay, deputy director of the Department of Social Services.
The $741,971 grant will "help bolster our resources in the community," she said.
Since Oct. 1, Madera County has received applications from 1,800 people. According to the state, about 8,000 are eligible, said Debbie Blankenship, deputy director of social services.
The grant will be used to reach those who lack transportation and can't come to county offices to apply, Blankenship said: "They're the neediest and we want to make sure we get to them."
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