Gold Coast Health Plan | Annual Report 2018

leaders in health care When people are worried about finding a job, they’re not focused on their health care. That was a theme that kept emerging in Marlen Torres’ day-to-day work as Gold Coast Health Plan’s director of government and community relations. Marlen wanted to delve deeper into the topic, so she submitted a proposal on the role that education and employment play in health when she applied for a research and policy fellowship at the Association for Community Affiliated Plans (ACAP), a national trade association based in Washington, D.C., that represents 60 safety net health plans in 29 states. Her proposal was selected, and in September, Marlen moved to Washington, D.C. During the three-month fellowship, Marlen explored the work of four Medicaid plans– AmeriHealth Caritas (operates in several states), Amida Care (New York), CareSource (Indiana) and Community Health Choice (Texas)–that have programs in place to help their members find jobs and provide the funding for them to obtain their GED or earn a certificate in Career and Technical Education. Marlen found that health plans were leading the way when it comes to addressing the social determinants of health–those economic and social conditions that influence someone’s well‑being. “These health plans were at the forefront addressing a gap they saw that was identified by their members,” Marlen said. “They’re really looking at addressing the member as a whole.” The programs are in their infancy, and because of that, data on whether the health of Medicaid members has improved along with their situations isn’t yet available. But anecdotally, the plans are seeing progress. If the data supports the anecdotes, Marlen says she would like to see all Medicaid plans–including GCHP–adopt similar programs. “To think about expanding this on a greater scale is exciting,” Marlen said. In November 2018, Marlen presented her research at ACAP’s annual member conference in Phoenix. It is scheduled to be published in March. Where education, employment and health meet Research explores how education and jobs improve health Marlen Torres Pauline Preciado, Gold Coast Health Plan’s director of population health, is inspired to improve access to quality health care in Ventura County. Pauline was one of 32 clinical leaders from throughout the state who was selected to participate in the California Health Care Foundation’s Health Care Leadership program. The two-year fellowship, which started in September, aims to prepare clinically trained professionals to be strong and effective leaders who are focused on tackling the challenges facing health care in California. “The California Health Care Foundation is on the cutting edge of clinical intervention programs,” Pauline said. “I see taking what I have learned and the connections I have made and bringing it all back to the Plan and our community to spearhead innovations.” Pauline, who is the first person to represent Ventura County in the leadership program in its 17-year history, will be completing a community project during her fellowship. GCHP leader trains to tackle health care challenges Pauline Preciado