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Children receive care demonstrating impact of the affordable care act

Families Wary of Enrolling Undocumented Kids in Medi-Cal (KPCC)

March 22, 2017

Although California law allows children under 19 to access Medi-Cal regardless of their immigration status, many parents are pulling them from the program due to fear of deportation, according to a story from National Public Radio station KPCC.

Clinic Leadership Institute Emerging Leaders Cohort 7 alumna Susie Ramirez from Eisner Pediatric & Family Medical Center was interviewed for the story:

There has been a significant decrease in the number of families enrolling and re-enrolling unauthorized immigrant kids in Medi-Cal in the 16 L.A. clinics run by Eisner Health, according to Susie Ramirez, a supervisor in the firm's patient relations department.

About 80 to 90 kids enrolled in the program each month from May, when the law was implemented, through the end of November, she says. Since December, that dropped to 35 or 40 a month, adds Ramirez. About 120 kids re-enrolled each month through November, and that number has dropped to about 80 a month since December, she says.

Ramirez is concerned that fear of deportation will prevent patients from getting needed health care.

"If they're hesitant about continuing their care with us and continuing accessing these programs, then that means that's going to affect their health and their continuity of obtaining care," she says.

The Clinic Leadership Institute (CLI) prepares leaders of California community clinics and health centers to be effective and passionate agents of change. With participants ranging from administrative staff to new chief executive officers, CLI includes two programs: Emerging Leaders and New Executive Transitions (nEXt). Graduates of both programs participate in the CLI Network, which provides ongoing professional development and peer support. The goal of CLI Emerging Leaders is to build the next generation of safety net providers and leaders who will sustain and strengthen the community health field in California.

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