Keeping San Diego County Kids Healthy

DATE: August 10, 1999 
TO: Board of Supervisors
SUBJECT: KEEPING SAN DIEGO COUNTY KIDS HEALTHY

SUMMARY:
San Diego County has nearly 600,000 uninsured residents. Of this, an alarming 125,000 - 130,000 are children. Throughout the San Diego region, there are numerous healthcare programs for uninsured children, however, many families are not utilizing available resources. By coordinating existing outreach efforts with schools, it could dramatically decrease the number of uninsured children in this County. Today's action will take us one step closer to the goal of assuring that every child has access to healthcare.

Recommendation(s):
Vice Chairwoman Dianne Jacob
1) Direct the Chief Administrative Officer to work with the San Diego School Boards Association, the County Office of Education, the California School Nurses Organization (CSNO) and San Diego Kids Health Assurance Network (SD-KHAN) in developing a plan to ensure that all San Diego County children have access to healthcare. Report back to the Board of Supervisors in 90 days.

2) Direct the Chief Administrative Officer to explore the possibility of co-funding a school nurse coordinator position with the County Office of Education. Report back to the Board in 90 days.

Fiscal Impact:
There is no fiscal impact resulting from this action.

Background:
San Diego County has nearly 600,000 uninsured residents. Of these startling numbers, an even more alarming 125,000 - 130,000 are children.

Throughout the San Diego region, there are numerous healthcare programs for uninsured children. Medi-Cal and Healthy Families are a few of the options.

It is estimated that up to 70,000 of these currently uninsured children are eligible for Medi-Cal, and that up to 30,000 more are currently eligible for Healthy Families. And for those children not eligible for either Medi-Cal or Healthy Families - there are two private programs, Kaiser Cares for Kids and California Kids. Both programs provide healthcare for uninsured children.

In light of this, it is evident that the problem is not a lack of resources, but rather the problem is a lack of outreach and education to this region's families. It is imperative that parents understand what is available to their children and that this information is made readily available to them.

As a result of the Indigent Care Commission recommendations, the County of San Diego initiated the San Diego Kids Health Assurance Network (SD-KHAN). SD-KHAN's goal is to increase access to care for low-income children by connecting them with medical care options. They currently partner with numerous public and private agencies to attain that goal through a 1-800 number that facilitates links for this region's uninsured children. Also, the County of San Diego provides outreach and education for healthcare programs at numerous locations, such as community clinics, child care locations or emergency rooms. By coordinating existing County efforts with schools, it could dramatically decrease the number of uninsured children in this County.

Every child attends school. It is only logical that the County work with school districts and school health officials to ensure that no child is without access to healthcare.

Further, by working with the County Office of Education in the co-funding of a school nurse coordinator, our schools and children will have a much needed resource at their fingertips. The school nurse coordinator will coordinate existing nurse schedules to ensure maximum use, as well as coordinate any other joint programs with school districts.

With the current resources available, no child should be without health insurance. Today's action will take us one step closer to attaining this goal. I urge your support.

Respectfully Submitted,
DIANNE JACOB
Vice Chairwoman, Second District