Local Health Authority approves Emergency COVID-19 grants
The Imperial County Local Health Authority Commission (LHA) will give COVID-19 Emergency Response Grants totaling more than $1.3 million to help the local hospitals, clinics, non-profit organizations and the County Public Health Department provide essential services to those desperate for assistance because of the pandemic.
“It really took a lot of work to pull this whole funding package together in a very short period of time. A lot of thought went into figuring this out,” Lee Hindman, chairman of the LHA, said following an emergency meeting of the Authority’s Commission. The funding package was passed without opposition. Grants could go out to eligible agencies by the end of the month.
The LHA was created by county ordinance in 2014 and is funded by Medi-Cal managed care health plan California Health & Wellness (CH&W). The LHA’s mission is to advance opportunities for improved health and access to comprehensive health care services; promote long-term viability of safety net providers; increase prevention, education, and early intervention services; and partner with Medi-Cal managed care plans to monitor and improve the local health care system.
“Our goal with the Emergency Response grants was to both assist with unanticipated immediate needs as well as to continue the LHA’s long-term goal of improving the local healthcare system and access to care for Medi-Cal recipients,” stated Hindman.
The largest share of the grant funding will go to El Centro Regional Medical Center (ECRMC) and Pioneers Memorial Healthcare District (PMHD) and their outpatient centers. ECRMC and PMHD will each receive $300,000. The Clinicas de Salud del Pueblo will receive $150,000 and the MD Community Care Center will receive $75,000. The County Public Health Department will get a grant of $150,000.
A total of $363,613 of the LHA grant funding is for non-profit organizations. Some of the money is to pay for a consultant to provide additional webinars and virtual support to help non-profit organizations apply for federal Coronavirus aid including the Payroll Protection Program and economic stimulus funds. The significant share of funding for non-profit organizations is targeted specifically for those agencies that provide food for low-income residents and those addressing domestic violence and homelessness. Details about the LHA Emergency Response Grant program are available on line at www.localhealthauthority.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=2563
“I want to commend the LHA for the impressive and critically needed Emergency Response Program developed in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure that vital services are available for those most in need,” said Brian Ternan, president and CEO of California Health & Wellness, which provides coverage to more than 61,000 Medi-Cal recipients in Imperial County.
“It really was a team effort pulling all of this together,” said Hindman. He credited Robin Hodgkin, who is the consultant to the LHA, and Dr. Kathleen Lang, who manages CH&W’s operation in Imperial County for the work that went into the program.