Helping Vulnerable Populations

A partnership has been established  between the University of California San Francisco’s (UCSF) Center for Vulnerable Populations (CVP) http://cvp.ucsf.edu at San Francisco General Hospital (SFGH) http://sfgh.ucsf.edu and the California Healthcare Safety Net Institute (SNI) http://safetynetinstitute.org to disseminate and implement evidence-based practices across all public hospital integrated delivery systems in the state.

California has established several projects to help safety net providers and the population.  One initiative is the “Public Healthcare System Evidence Network and Innovation eXchange” or referred to as PHoENIX to further develop and help underserved populations nationally.

PHoENIX is going to help public hospital systems operate as flexible learning organizations that can rapidly take up, adapt, and implement evidence-based practices to maximize population health. PHoENIX will work to gain insight into how to help other safety net health systems.   In addition, SNI and UCSF will leverage PHoENIX to seek additional resources to help spread cross system innovation and implementation.

The 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act enacted is expected to increase insurance coverage of medically and socially complex chronic disease populations. These populations include individuals with Limited Health Literacy and Limited English Proficiency (LEP) that face communications barriers with chronic medical conditions.

Today, patient portals and mobile health platforms integrated with new EHR systems have the potential to engage patients with linguistically and culturally concordant self-management support. Increased clinician computer use may also affect the quality and content of clinician-patient communication as well as clinician satisfaction with their work.

Telehealth can play an important role in providing healthcare but safety net providers still struggle incorporating telehealth-delivered care into their operations. With grant funding from the Blue Shield of California Foundation (BSCF) www.blueshieldcafoundation.org, the Center for Connected Health Policy is examining the true costs for safety net clinics to provide telehealth services and how to help safety net providers.

The California Telehealth Resource Center (CTRC) www.caltrc.org is working with five selected California safety net health centers plus Milliman, Inc. www.milliman.com an actuarial firm to help participants and major payer plans complete a cost analysis.

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