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States Respond to COVID-19: 1115 Waiver Program Enhanced Calif.’s Pandemic Response

California‘s Whole Person Care (WPC) initiative has helped the state swiftly respond to COVID-19, specifically for vulnerable populations.

Operating under California’s 1115 Medicaid waiver, the five-year WPC program brings together cross-sectional partners in health care and social services to offer full-spectrum, patient-centered care. With community partnerships already underway through the initiative, localities in California found it easier to reach vulnerable communities at high risk for contracting COVID-19.

Through the program, WPC leaders were able to provide services and resources to communities across the state, including:

  • coordinating street medicine and outreach: WPC partnered with community organizations to target homeless communities and provide testing and treatment for positive cases;
  • coordinating isolation in hotels or shelters: WPC partnered with local activists to provide medical screening at shelters and hotels to keep the locations safe; and
  • identifying vulnerable individuals during the pandemic: in partnership with the state Department of Public Health, the WPC program developed a risk assessment tool to identify individuals at highest risk of contracting COVID-19.

Visit the America’s Essential Hospitals coronavirus resource page for more information about the outbreak.

Contact Senior Director of Policy Erin O’Malley at eomalley@essentialhospitals.org or 202.585.0127 with questions.

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About the Author

Abigail Painchaud is a policy associate at America's Essential Hospitals.

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