Welcome to the SNI Forward, our quarterly snapshot of the transformation progress at California’s public health care systems and the work of the California Health Care Safety Net Institute (SNI).

As we face these extraordinary times, from the devastating effects of the pandemic and wildfires to emerging opportunities to advance efforts to dismantle structural racism, public health care systems continue to rise to the challenge to care for those in need in their communities.

Building on the unprecedented expansion of telehealth earlier this year after the onset of COVID-19, public health care systems are beginning the process of envisioning and redesigning care models for the present, and future, delivering a mix of safe in-person care and virtual care. To support these efforts, SNI launched programming for members with a focus on telehealth and evolving care models that includes peer support, webinars, and other technical assistance.

Whole Person Care (WPC) continues play a critical role in the COVID-19 response. In a recent blog, we highlight how cross-sector partnerships and data infrastructure allowed pilot sites in San Joaquin, San Francisco, and Alameda to hit the ground running, quickly coordinating care and services to support individuals experiencing homelessness.

Over the next few months, SNI will continue to support members as they balance addressing COVID-19 and safely transitioning to more in-person care. In regard to waiver and managed care programs, SNI remains focused on collaborating with the State to mitigate the challenges presented by COVID-19. For example, CMS recently approved several proposals from the State to implement important modifications to PRIME, Quality Incentive Program (QIP), Global Payment Program (GPP), and WPC. SNI is also in the planning stages of a new initiative that aims to assist public health care systems in their efforts to address structural racism.

In closing, we hope you will join us for the CAPH/SNI Annual Conference, which will be held virtually on December 3-4. Information and registration is forthcoming. The winners of this year’s Quality Leaders Awards will be announced at the conference, and applications are due October 9.

Giovanna Giuliani
Executive Director
California Health Care Safety Net Institute

Supporting Members’ Telehealth Expansion and Emerging Care Models

When the pandemic emerged in California, public health care systems jumped into action to care for COVID+ patients and expand testing capacity, while also ensuring ongoing access to care for all patients. In doing so, outpatient clinic services dramatically shifted from in-person visits to video and audio-only visits. Now, six months into this “new normal,” public health care systems are leveraging their experiences and lessons learned to reimagine the types of care models needed during the pandemic, and, for the future more broadly.

To assist with this transition, SNI established resources and support services to help members meet the moment. SNI is providing members with technical expertise and 1:1 consultations to assist with selecting video platforms, integration, and remote patient monitoring. Also, to help members as they move towards a more mixed-model of telehealth and in-person ambulatory care, SNI has facilitated peer sharing opportunities. For example, on recent SNI member webinars, leaders at San Mateo Medical Center discussed best practices in developing and adapting standard workflows for team-based care in a telehealth setting, and Dr. Jagruti Shukla presented on Los Angeles County Department of Health Services’ three-phase framework on surge, recovery, and transformation to a “better normal.”

In addition to these sessions, SNI has been providing personalized support to members through dedicated peer groups and connections to external mentorship opportunities. Upcoming webinars will focus on integrated behavioral telehealth and in-person staffing/scheduling at alternative care sites, as well as improving patient engagement in telehealth.

Whole Person Care Lays Groundwork for Quick COVID-19 Response

San Francisco’s Whole Person Care and Homeless Outreach Team

Thanks to the pioneering features of the Whole Person Care (WPC) pilot, entities were positioned to rapidly respond to COVID-19 and immediately begin caring for the most vulnerable. The cross-sector partnerships and data infrastructure established during the five year pilot program allowed sites to respond quickly to the urgent needs of those at most risk of COVID.

In a recent CAPH/SNI blog, we share how pilots in Alameda, San Joaquin, and San Francisco counties leveraged WPC to rapidly identify high-risk individuals, coordinate services at shelter-in-place sites, and connect individuals experiencing homelessness with community services, housing, and medical and behavioral healthcare. According to Natascha Garcia, WPC Program Manager in San Joaquin, “the experience of working together with [WPC] partners created a solid foundation…we knew who to reach out to… and that was the first thing that allowed us to move quickly.” Read more.

What’s Next

  • CAPH/SNI Annual Conference will be held virtually on December 3 – 4. Our 2020 conference theme, Caring for Communities in Crises and Beyond, recognizes the bravery and dedication of our health care providers and other essential workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, and every day. Registration information forthcoming.
  • The Quality Leaders Awards, which highlight our members’ innovative approaches to providing high-value, high-quality, patient-centered care, will be presented at the above annual conference. Applications due October 9.

Learn More

  • You can follow CAPH/SNI program and advocacy news on Twitter @CAPHSystems
  • Visit our website at safetynetinstitute.org
  • CAPH/SNI members can access program materials through SNI Link– our members’ only program portal