The doctor is in. So are the pharmacist, the hospital and the medical group. Last week, I was proud to stand with individual physicians who have provided care to Covered California enrollees and with representatives of leading medical associations at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles, as we announced what we believe to be a historic and first-of-its-kind partnership.
Together these groups will send out more than 100,000 letters, to the men and women who have some of the most trusted voices in their community, because they know how important it is to get the right care at the right time, and that begins with being covered.
Already, medical groups are agreeing to get the word out: UCLA’s network of 152 outpatient settings, which go from Ventura County and Los Angeles down to Orange County, will have information in their waiting rooms.
The California Medical Association was joined by associations representing primary care, ethnic physicians and many others because no one understands better than physicians, medical groups and hospitals that getting coverage is the doorway to getting care. Keeping people well and helping them when they are sick is what doctors get up each day to do. Now, they are joining with Covered California to make sure all Californians have that door open to care when they need it.
Dr. Howard Fullman, the medical director at Kaiser West LA Medical Center, talked about one Covered California patient who came in the day after his new insurance started. The 51-year-old man had been having some abdominal pains, and the doctor quickly determined that an early form of colon cancer was the cause. Within a few days this patient was undergoing surgery, and today he is healthy and cancer-free.
We also heard the wonderful story captured in the picture to the left. From left to right, Dr. Patrick Dowling, Dr. Raven Copeland and Dr. Michelle Bholat are joined by their patient Kimeko Campbell. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, Kimeko was able to enroll in expanded Medi-Cal and get health care coverage for the first time in more than 10 years. It couldn’t have come at a better time for her. In October, her arm went numb, and she had trouble speaking. Her doctors confirmed Kimeko was in the middle of a full-blown stroke, and she spent a week in the hospital. “Thank God I had this insurance,” she said, “because that allowed me to get treated, and I’m still here today.”
The reality that, through Covered California and Medi-Cal, individuals are being touched in meaningful ways was brought home by Dr. David Feinburg, the CEO of UCLA Medical Center. He noted that in the last nine months, thousands of Covered California patients had received care at UCLA hospital and outpatient settings. In particular, he noted that:
- 12 individuals covered through Covered California had received transplants. We’re talking about lung, kidney, heart, liver and bone marrow transplants. I had the privilege of meeting the gentleman who had a heart transplant and expressed his thanks and relief at having Covered California coverage.
- 31 babies covered through Covered California had been admitted to their neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). These are babies that are too small to breathe or eat on their own.
- 58 individuals covered through Covered California had cardiac surgeries and procedures.
- 88 individuals covered through Covered California had inpatient care for cancer.
And, while no one ever wants to be diagnosed with cancer, to need a transplant or to need a NICU for their baby, if you do, you want to know you’re covered and can go to UCLA or one of the other 403 hospitals across California that have contracts to serve Covered California enrollees.
This visit brought home that coverage and open enrollment matter. For more details on how one hospital and delivery system is delivering on the promise of care, see the fact sheet at http://www.coveredca.com/news/PDFs/story-of-one-hospital.pdf.
Open enrollment runs until Feb. 15, 2015. However, if you want your coverage to start on Jan. 1, you need to enroll by December 15, 2014. Covered California is proud to be partnering with the physician and provider community to make sure we leave no Californian behind and that everyone can say “I’m In.”