L.A. Care Wins National Award for Innovative ProgramÂ Â
South Los Angeles Resident Contributes to award winning health disparities project
Â L.A. Care Health Plan, the nation's largest public health plan, has been awarded the prestigious "Recognizing Innovation in Multicultural Health Care Award" by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA). NCQA recognized L.A. Care's Health Disparities Improvement Project, which overcomes cultural and language barriers for African-American and Latina women by providing access to health care services that meet their unique needs.
"L.A. Care's innovative efforts to improve care for its culturally diverse members is a model for the nation and other health plans across the country," said NCQA President Margaret E. O'Kane. "One in five Americans speaks a language other than English at home. Racial and ethnic differences result in substantial health disparities for millions. It's imperative that more plans follow L.A. Care's lead."Â
L.A. Care was recognized at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, October 15. The award, sponsored by The California Endowment with support from The Office of Minority Health, is part of NCQA's efforts to improve the quality of health care in the U.S. through development of a truly multicultural health care system.
L.A. Care's Health Disparities Improvement Project uses several strategies to improve the use of women's health services among ethnic and racial minorities. The initiative leverages several unique assets of L.A. Care - local community advisory committees of L.A. Care members and advocates, the health plan's Family Resource Centers, and its own Health Promoters Program.
L.A. Care's Health Promoters Program, in partnership with several community-based organizations, trains L.A. Care members to do peer-to-peer community outreach and education on preventive health, healthy lifestyles, and women's health and services. Throughout Los Angeles County, participants use awareness kits, a Community Resources Directory, and health education brochures to help improve their communities' health.
L.A. Care's Family Resource Centers, located in Lynwood and Inglewood, offer free periodic health screenings, such as mammograms, and provide free health education classes to encourage preventive care and healthy living.Â Other efforts include distributing culturally sensitive and linguistically appropriate posters promoting perinatal care throughout L.A. Care's provider network.Â Â
Two-year trends show that the overall use of breast cancer screenings and other women's health services such prenatal care, post-partum care, and cervical cancer screenings among L.A. Care's African-American and Latina members have improved.Â
"This project has increased collaborative efforts across L.A. Care, engaged community members, and raised awareness of health disparities," says Laura Linebach, Director of Quality Improvement at L.A. Care.
"This innovative program seeks to empower not only our members but the community as a whole," says Auleria Eakins, Manager of Community Outreach and Education at L.A. Care.
According to the landmark 2002 Institute of Medicine study, "Unequal Treatment: Confronting Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health Care," minorities in the U.S. tend to get lower quality health care than whites, even when such factors as medical conditions, insurance and economic status are equivalent.
For information about other innovative multicultural health plan programs recognized by NCQA, please visit www.ncqa.org
L.A. Care Health Plan (Local Initiative Health Authority of Los Angeles County) is a public entity and community-accountable health plan serving residents of Los Angeles County through a variety of programs including Medi-Cal, Healthy Families, L.A. Care's Healthy Kids, and L.A. Care's Medicare Advantage Special Needs Plan.
L.A. Care is a leader in developing new programs through innovative partnerships designed to provide health coverage to vulnerable populations and to support the safety net. With nearly 800,000 members, L.A. Care is the nation's largest public health plan. For more information, please visit www.lacare.org
NCQA is a private, non-profit organization dedicated to improving health care quality. NCQA accredits and certifies a wide range of health care organizations and recognizes physicians in key clinical areas. NCQA's Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS) is the most widely used performance measurement tool in health care. NCQA is committed to providing health care quality information through the Web, media and data licensing agreements in order to help consumers, employers and others make more informed health care choices. For more information, visit www.ncqua.org
The California Endowment, a private, statewide health foundation, was established in 1996 to expand access to affordable, quality health care for underserved individuals and communities, and to promote fundamental improvements in the health status of all Californians.
For more information, visit www.calendow.org