Santa Ana, California – Today, Supervisor Andrew Do unveiled his Homeless Health Care Action Plan in response to CalOptima’s slow rate of progress for homeless services. Out of the 210 homeless deaths last year, 153 were CalOptima members. In light of this humanitarian crisis, Supervisor Do called for a Special CalOptima Board of Directors meeting on June 14 to vote on his action plan.
In a letter to CalOptima CEO Michael Schrader, Supervisor Do made clear his frustrations.
“I am frustrated that out of the 210 homeless deaths last year, 153 were CalOptima members, despite my repeated requests for such services through all of last year,” said Do, who also sits on the CalOptima Board of Directors. “If ever, the time for action is now. We have had 25 more homeless deaths in the first two months of 2019 alone.”
You can read the full letter here.
Taking Responsibility: CalOptima’s Delayed Response to Homeless Deaths
CalOptima has been reluctant to claim homeless individuals as CalOptima members. Now that the facts are overwhelmingly clear, waiting for more feasibility studies or meetings to discuss what can be done is not an option. Homeless residents are, by definition, indigent. It is CalOptima’s responsibility to find ways to bring health care to them.
“Homeless individuals should receive the health care they need. This is especially true if they have gone through the process to enroll. It is CalOptima’s responsibility to find ways to bring health care to them,” said Supervisor Do. “If one CalOptima member is experiencing homelessness that should be enough for this agency to spring into action.”
In February, $60 million in new unnamed homeless health initiatives was allocated by the CalOptima Board of Directors. To date, no proposals are forthcoming for the June Board meeting and the CalOptima Board does not meet in July. Such a delay may result in more deaths and six months before any action is taken.
Taking Action: Supervisor Do’s Homeless CARE Proposal
In the several months since the Board of Directors authorized Supervisor Do’s proposed Mobile Health Team, CalOptima has only served 47 individuals out of a population of almost 6,860 homeless residents countywide. Of those 47 patients, 36 were CalOptima members. Supervisor Do is requesting a Special Board of Directors meeting to convene on June 14 where he plans to propose the following to spend the $60 million allocated:
- Clinic health care services in all homeless shelters - $10 million
- Authorize mobile health team to respond to all homeless providers - $10 million
- Residential support services and housing navigation - $20 million
- Extend recuperative care for homeless individuals with chronic physical health issue-$20 million
“We can adopt, as a Board, a philosophy of finding a way to say yes,” explained Supervisor Do, “Or we can continue to say no, while people are suffering and dying on the street.”