Community Health Centers of the Central Coast Receives Quality of Care Awards

Community Health Centers of the Central Coast Receives Quality of Care Awards title=
Left to right: Carmen Ramirez-Santini, MBA, Regional Operations Manager; Yolanda "Yoli" Estrada, Health Center Manager, CHC Del Valle; Dr. Victor Guerrero, Family Physician, CHC Del Valle; Monica Lopez, Assistant Health Center Manager, CHC Del Valle. (Photo provided by CenCal Health)
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Source: CenCal Health

CenCal Health, the publicly-sponsored health plan for Medi-Cal in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties, annually recognizes the work of local network physicians and healthcare centers through its Primary Care Providers (PCP) Incentive Top Performer Awards. The awards acknowledge PCPs across both counties who provide high-quality healthcare and control utilization costs for assigned patients from the health plan’s membership. There are four award categories: pediatrics, family practice, internal medicine, and federally-qualified health centers. The awards are based on 2019 performance scores with the results announced to providers in 2020.

This year, CenCal Health presents Community Health Centers of the Central Coast (CHC) with two top performance awards. The CHC Del Valle clinic in Santa Maria is named Top Family Practice, with the non-profit health clinic organization as a whole earning the number one spot in the Federally-Qualified Health Center (FQHC) category. FQHCs are community-based health care providers that receive funds from the Health Resources and Services Administration, an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, to provide primary care services in underserved areas.

“At CHC, we are deeply touched and honored by CenCal Health's awards during a time when CenCal Health members and all people need their healthcare institutions to do the right thing at the right time,” said Dr. Steve Clarke, CHC Medical Director. “Nowhere was this truer than at our Del Valle Clinic. Within a week of the state lockdown, we judged that the epicenter at both counties would center in Northwestern Santa Maria. Within one week, we converted a large part of the clinic into a Viral Evaluation Center, with all volunteer staff in full PPE. Ever since, the Del Valle Clinic has tirelessly cared for thousands of panicked patients in a prompt, effective and culturally honoring manner.”

CHC has a history of quality care in San Luis Obispo County and Northern Santa Barbara County. The organization began operations in 1978 at a small building in Nipomo with seven employees and a part-time volunteer doctor. CHC now has over 800 employees in 31 state-licensed clinics, and provides more than 450,000 visits annually. Its patient population includes low income, uninsured community members with special emphasis on special populations such as homeless, school-based, migrant and seasonal farm workers, and public housing residents. CHC’s primary care staffing includes Family Practice, Pediatrics, Internal Medicine, and OB/GYN Physicians, in addition, to Physician Assistants, Nurse Practitioners, Dentists, Optometrists, Behavioral Health clinicians, Chiropractors, Registered Dietitians/Certified Diabetic Education, and other ancillary staff.

In addition, CenCal Health acknowledges two local physicians for their high rating in this annual awards program. For the second year in a row, Jeffery S. Kaplan M.D. of Santa Maria earns the title Top Pediatrics Provider, and Eric Levy M.D. of Santa Maria is named Top Internal Medicine Provider, also for a second consecutive year. 

To ensure that network providers continue to offer quality services and manage costs, CenCal Health monitors their performance via monthly reports. Within these reports, eight categories are measured: physician/ outpatient expenses, inpatient hospital expenses, pharmacy expenses, emergency room visits, doctor and patient encounters, after hours visits, preventive medicine evaluations, and increased access to care for Medi-Cal members. The data included is not only valuable to the health plan but is considered a key resource for practices looking to improve their quality of care.

Other local providers recognized by the health plan this year are Lompoc Health, Himat Tank, M.D. in Santa Maria, Jackson Medical Group in Santa Barbara and Goleta, Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics and Santa Barbara Public Health Department. 

“On behalf of everyone at CenCal Health, I would like to congratulate all our PCP Top Performers. We deeply appreciate the quality care that our PCP partners give to our valuable members,” said Terri Howell, CenCal Health Provider Services Director. “CenCal Health is dedicated to improving the health of the most vulnerable and underserved people in our communities, and we cannot care for our members without our trusted provider partnerships.

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