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California Medi-Cal Providers Receive Grants from Health Net Totaling $13.4 Million to Expand Telehealth Services

Fast action plan embraces the future of healthcare, as funds are delivered to 138 local safety net clinics and others serving California’s most vulnerable residents

(Sacramento, CA)—Health Net announced today it has awarded 138 grants, totaling $13.4 million, to support the establishment and expansion of telehealth and telephonic services for California providers serving Medi-Cal members. This is the largest grant of cash dedicated to this cause by a health plan in California. The company had announced $5.9 million in available grants in a Request for Support (RFS) on April 2, 2020. However, based on the overwhelming response to the RFS, Health Net has awarded grants totaling $13.4 million.

“Telehealth has emerged as an effective way for health care providers to care for their patients during this pandemic,” said Brian Ternan, President and CEO of Health Net of California and California Health and Wellness. “As the state’s largest Medi-Cal managed care plan, we know doctors, nurses and clinicians serving our vulnerable patient population are struggling right now. Our goal was to think creatively and support providers funding quickly to help them build their telehealth capacity as soon as possible and care for those most in need.”
Health Net’s grants are dedicated to building or expanding telehealth practices, including live video visits, e-consultations and tele-psychiatry, which are all key tools in providing safe access and continuity of care
for patients at home. Funds can be used for infrastructure (laptops, cell phones, and software), Internet connectivity, and training/technical assistance. Telehealth minimizes disruption to the health care system,
and protects providers and patients at a time when social distancing is critical. Health Net envisioned the grant program in coordination with the California Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC). Health Net requested to use funding set aside for improving enrollee health
outcomes under DMHC’s approval of Centene’s acquisition of Health Net in 2016. From program inception to solicitation period and grant review, and ultimately to disbursing funds, the time frame was under five
weeks.

“During the current state of emergency, we continue to work with industry leaders on solutions to safely provide health care services throughout the state,” said Shelley Rouillard, Director of the California Department of Managed Health Care. “This grant funding will help Medi-Cal providers expand their ability to deliver health care services to patients via telehealth, particularly to vulnerable populations and those in rural areas.”
“I want to personally express my appreciation to Governor Gavin Newsom and his Administration for helping us envision this unique concept, and mapping out a framework that helped us award these grants so quickly to the state’s safety net providers and local communities,” added Ternan.

Health Net’s 138 grantees span California from the rural north to the urban south, and include independent provider practices, rural health centers, community clinics, Indian health centers and more— many of whom face increased financial strain and challenges amid the ongoing pandemic. Nearly 20% of grantees reported having no existing telehealth services at the time of their application.

A Community Advisory Committee reviewed and supported the grant recipients, include:
• Former State Senator Patrick Johnston, Chair
• Shelley Rouillard, Director, CA Department of Managed Health Care
• Brad Gilbert, Director, CA Department of Health Services
• Louise McCarthy, President & CEO, Community Clinic Association of Los Angeles County
• Sean Atha, Senior Vice President, Vivant Health

• Chris Perrone, Director of Improving Access, CA Health Care Foundation
• Jim Lott, Former EVP for the Hospital Association of Southern California, Private Consultant
• Carol Kim, Vice President of Strategic Alliances and Business Development, Health Net

“This expedited funding from Health Net is absolutely needed on the front lines and will enable our physicians — particularly those in small practices and clinics — to stay connected and care for their patients through telehealth,” said Dustin Corcoran, Chief Executive Officer for the California Medical Association.

“Our clinics are on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic and continue to face increased financial strain that limits their ability to best serve patients—many of whom are Medi-Cal enrollees,” said Carmela Castellano-Garcia, President and Chief Executive Officer of the California Primary Care Association. The funding provided and expedited by Health Net will enable clinics to build out much-needed telehealth capabilities and support those who serve our state’s most vulnerable.”

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