SAN LUIS OIBSPO COUNTY, Calif- Health care can be confusing for families and with President Obama's health care law about to kick into gear, many uninsured and underinsured are struggling to meet basic insurance needs.
There's a group here on the central coast focusing on helping others navigate through any hassle when it comes to health care. For a lot families it's hard to get health care and afford it, and this program will have people who will literally navigate families with children up to five years old through the process of getting health care. There is a new program designed to help low income children and families get medical care on the central coast called, "The Health Navigator Program," said Melinda Sokolowski with CAPSLO.
"They won't see a medical provider until their child is actually sick and needs to go either into an emergency room or urgent care center," said Sokolowski. With the new federal health care law rolling in, First 5 of San Luis Obsipo has just funded nonprofits CAPSLO and The Link in Atascadero to help navigate families through the sometimes complicated healthcare system to get services.
"There's a population that might not have insurance at all or they might be in an area where they don't have access to a clinic or a medical provider," said Sokolowski. Three positions, called navigators, will be hired utilizing part of a $350,000 grant to help with everything from filling out an application to finding transportation. "We are probably looking 500 families that we will be supporting countywide," said Sokolowski.
In fact, according to SLO Counties 2011 Community Health Status report 13.4 percent of children 0-17 are uninsured, First 5 of SLO said they need to educate. "What we want to ensure is that parents and children are able to identify healthcare providers but also know their options for health care plans," said Sokolowski.
The program will begin late February and will be in place for three years.
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