198717 L.A. Care's Regional Community Advisory Committees: An evolving model for consumer engagement in a public health plan

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Auleria Eakins , Communty Outreach & Education, L.A. Care Health Plan, Los Angeles, CA
L.A. Care Health Plan, a non-profit, community accountable, Medi-Cal health plan in Los Angeles County is a leader in providing culturally and linguistically competent, quality health care services. L.A. Care's recipe for success includes a proactive grassroots engagement process.

With approximately 400 consumer, advocate, and provider members, L.A. Care's Regional Community Advisory Committee (RCAC) system continually strives to align closely with the ethnic, cultural and social dynamics of its constituents.

Although the RCAC system showed modest success, the need for an evaluation and redesign surfaced. A new approach was needed to insure that participants receive information on health topics, access to care, and opportunities to build advocacy experience that is meaningful and practical to both RCAC members and L.A. Care.

The redesigned RCAC system shows improvement in grassroots participation, policy making, and programmatic direction. Moving from a good system to a great one required a robust and candid evaluation of existing operations. Key changes include additional staff training, wider involvement of the advocate community, and increased funding support. While enhanced communication tools- newsletters, toll-free telephone hotline –compliment bi-monthly meetings. Health Promoters/Promotores; use a peer-to-peer health education approach to assist with “Access to Care” throughout the RCAC's. Stipends and reimbursements reduce the financial burden of participation. Finally within L.A. Care efforts to leverage resources across departments (e.g., health education, government affairs, cultural and linguistics services) increase the RCAC system's potential.

L.A. Care's approach offers the health care field a cutting edge model for authentic consumer engagement.

Learning Objectives:
Describe and discuss innovate ways to engage Medicaid consumers in grassroots health advocacy and leadership development.

Keywords: Community-Based Partnership, Community Participation

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Auleria Eakins, a native of Los Angeles, She is a graduate of California State University Dominguez Hills where she received her B.S. in Health Science with a concentration in Health Care Management. She is currently in her last year of Graduate studies at working toward her Masters in Public Administration. Auleria is currently employed by L.A. Care Health Plan where she is the Lead Community Resource Specialist. Auleria spends countless hours working with adolescents and adults in various areas of Los Angeles County to promote health access and advocacy to low income and vulnerable populations. Ms. Eakins serves as a board member for T.H.E. Clinic, Inc. a federally funded qualified health center
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.