L.A. Care Health Plan and Blue Shield of California Announce $146 Million Investment in Community Health Initiative

Sept. 6, 2019
On Tuesday, L.A. Care Health Plan and Blue Shield of California announced a $146 million investment in community resource centers, to improve the quality of life of plan members in Los Angeles County

Two of the largest and most influential health plans in Southern California announced on Sep. 4 a plan to improve the quality of life of residents across Los Angeles County.

As announced in a press release posted to the Blue Shield of California website on Tuesday, Sep. 4, “L.A. Care Health Plan and Blue Shield of California Promise Health Plan announced today that they will invest a combined $146 million as part of a five-year commitment to expand Community Resource Centers across Los Angeles County. This unique collaboration will help improve health outcomes in local communities and the total quality of life for members of the two health plans. Improved health outcomes will also reduce health care costs over time,” the press release stated.

And it quoted John Baackes, the CEO of L.A. Care, as stating that, “As mission-driven health plans, we know health is local. By bringing even more services to the community, it will increase our ability to identify health disparities and implement customized solutions,” Baackes said in a statement included in the press release.

L.A. Care Health Plan serves nearly 2.2 million members in Los Angeles County, making it the largest publicly operated health plan in the country; it is focused mainly on caring for Medicaid (called Medi-Cal in California) and workers’ compensation recipients. Blue Shield of California, based in San Francisco, is a nonprofit, independent member of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association with 6,800 employees, more than $20 billion in annual revenue and 4.3 million members.

The two health plans have a long history of working together, the press release noted, as Blue Shield Promise is one of the Plan Partners that L.A. Care contracts with to serve Medi-Cal members in Los Angeles County, and this resource center effort greatly expands their ongoing collaboration.

“We are thrilled to collaborate with L.A. Care to bring more health care resources directly into Los Angeles neighborhoods,” said Paul Markovich, president and CEO of Blue Shield of California, in a statement contained in the press release. “We will provide residents support through services such as telehealth and community health advocates to provide personalized information and care to help them achieve and maintain good health.”

The press release noted that “L.A. Care and Blue Shield Promise each opened their own resource centers more than a decade ago to provide members and the entire community a fun and engaging space to improve their health and wellness through a range of exercise, nutrition, parenting, and health management classes at no cost.”

Further, it stated, “The new resource center collaboration will allow these community destinations to offer classes and personalized services in a fun, safe and inclusive environment that will help visitors stay active, healthy and informed. The services include additional health screenings and on-site care management for health plan members, and access to an onsite Department of Public Social Services worker and nutritionist at some locations. To bridge quality and access to care issues, these centers will also offer telehealth and health care applications support to help build members’ capacity to manage their own health. Child care is offered at no cost to ensure parents in each community can take full advantage of the classes.”

Further, “The centers will also provide on-site support from community social service organizations focused on addressing social needs of health such as food and income insecurity. By connecting members to these resources, they will be able to take an active role in their health care decisions and overall wellness. This collaboration will enhance community connections, address social needs and improve overall health outcomes for members and the entire community.”

And, the press release stated, “Over the next five years, L.A. Care and Blue Shield Promise will jointly open seven new resource centers, remodel four existing centers and relocate three other existing centers to larger locations. In total, they will jointly operate 14 resource centers in L.A. County. Each center will serve approximately 72,000 people per year when services and staff are fully built out, serving more than one million Angelenos annually.”