(Sacramento, CA)—Health Net announced today it has awarded 138 grants, totaling $13.4 million, to support the establishment and expansion of telehealth and telephonic services for California providers serving Medi-Cal members. This is the largest grant of cash dedicated to this cause by a health plan in California. The company had announced $5.9 million in available grants in a Request for Support (RFS) on April 2, 2020. However, based on the overwhelming response to the RFS, Health Net has awarded grants totaling $13.4 million.
“Telehealth has emerged as an effective way for health care providers to care for their patients during this pandemic,” said Brian Ternan, President and CEO of Health Net of California and California Health and Wellness. “As the state’s largest Medi-Cal managed care plan, we know doctors, nurses and clinicians serving our vulnerable patient population are struggling right now. Our goal was to think creatively and support providers funding quickly to help them build their telehealth capacity as soon as possible and care for those most in need.”
Health Net’s grants are dedicated to building or expanding telehealth practices, including live video visits, e-consultations and tele-psychiatry, which are all key tools in providing safe access and continuity of care for patients at home. Funds can be used for infrastructure (laptops, cell phones, and software), Internet connectivity, and training/technical assistance. Telehealth minimizes disruption to the health care system, and protects providers and patients at a time when social distancing is critical.
Health Net envisioned the grant program in coordination with the California Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC). Health Net requested to use funding set aside for improving enrollee health outcomes under DMHC’s approval of Centene's acquisition of Health Net in 2016. From program inception to solicitation period and grant review, and ultimately to disbursing funds, the time frame was under five weeks.
“During the current state of emergency, we continue to work with industry leaders on solutions to safely provide health care services throughout the state,” said Shelley Rouillard, Director of the California Department of Managed Health Care. “This grant funding will help Medi-Cal providers expand their ability to deliver health care services to patients via telehealth, particularly to vulnerable populations and those in rural areas.”
“I want to personally express my appreciation to Governor Gavin Newsom and his Administration for helping us envision this unique concept, and mapping out a framework that helped us award these grants so quickly to the state’s safety net providers and local communities,” added Ternan.
Health Net’s 138 grantees span California from the rural north to the urban south, and include independent provider practices, rural health centers, community clinics, Indian health centers and more— many of whom face increased financial strain and challenges amid the ongoing pandemic. Nearly 20% of grantees reported having no existing telehealth services at the time of their application.
A Community Advisory Committee reviewed and supported the grant recipients, include:
“This expedited funding from Health Net is absolutely needed on the front lines and will enable our physicians -- particularly those in small practices and clinics -- to stay connected and care for their patients through telehealth,” said Dustin Corcoran, Chief Executive Officer for the California Medical Association.
“Our clinics are on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic and continue to face increased financial strain that limits their ability to best serve patients—many of whom are Medi-Cal enrollees,” said Carmela Castellano-Garcia, President and Chief Executive Officer of the California Primary Care Association. The funding provided and expedited by Health Net will enable clinics to build out much-needed telehealth capabilities and support those who serve our state’s most vulnerable.”
About Health Net:
At Health Net, we believe every person deserves a safety net for their health, regardless of age, income, employment status or current state of health. Founded 40 years ago, we remain dedicated to transforming the health of our community, one person at a time. Today, Health Net’s 3,000 employees and 85,000 network providers serve more than 3 million members. That’s nearly 1 in 12 Californians. We provide health plans for individuals, families, businesses of every size, people with Medicare and people with Medi-Cal — Coverage for Every Stage of LifeTM. Health Net also offer access to substance abuse programs, behavioral health services, employee assistance programs and managed health care products related to prescription drugs. We offer these health plans and services through Health Net, LLC and its subsidiaries: Health Net of California, Inc., Health Net Life Insurance Company and Health Net Community Solutions, Inc. These entities are wholly owned subsidiaries of Centene Corporation (NYSE: CNC), a Fortune 100 company providing health coverage to more than 20 million Americans. For more information, visit HealthNet.com.
About California Health & Wellness:
At California Health & Wellness, we believe every person deserves a safety net for their health. That is why we have been offering access to quality health coverage to Californians in 19 rural counties since 2013. In fact, we operate as part of the state’s Medi-Cal Managed Care Rural Expansion program. This expansion brings health coverage to people eligible for Medi-Cal, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and other programs. Headquartered in Northern California, our work is based on the core belief that access to quality healthcare is best delivered locally. We are dedicated to helping transform the communities we serve, one person at a time. That is why we partner with local, regional and community-based organizations to deliver access to healthcare, pharmacy, vision and transportation services for our members. California Health & Wellness is a wholly owned subsidiary of Centene Corporation (NYSE: CNC), a Fortune 100 company providing health coverage to more than 20 million Americans.