Dr. Sarita Mohanty, President & CEO of The SCAN Foundation: Collaborative Solutions to Support Aging Well

The growing crisis in homelessness across the US has understandably garnered a lot of news coverage and attention from policymakers, and today’s WorkforceRx guest wants to make sure one key facet of the problem is not overlooked as solutions are discussed. “There’s a lot of over-representation of older people in the homelessness rates, and older Black Californians — and this is a staggering statistic — are five times more likely to become homeless than their white counterparts,” says Dr. Sarita Mohanty, president and CEO of The SCAN Foundation, whose work is centered in the nexus of age, poverty and equity. As one of the largest foundations in the US focused on improving the quality of health and life for older adults, The SCAN Foundation supports a wide variety of initiatives to address the complex factors preventing many Americans from aging well. On this episode, Dr. Mohanty shares some positive notes with Futuro Health CEO Van Ton-Quinlivan about statewide efforts in California that include expanded Medicaid access, moves to professionalize the home care workforce and the formation of Master Plans of Aging (MPA) at the state and local level. “There are some important areas of need that these MPA stakeholders are identifying and then they’re actually advocating at a policy level to get these addressed.” Stay tuned for many more examples of cross-sector collaborations that are accelerating solutions to this critically important problem affecting Americans of all ages.

Continue reading

Lupe Alonzo-Diaz, Physicians for a Healthy California: The Doctor Shortage Is About More Than Numbers

Like all states, California is facing a shortage of physicians — in its case a gap of 10,500 by the end of the decade — but today’s WorkforceRx guest says the definition of shortage needs to go beyond just numbers to include their practice location and cultural diversity. “Oftentimes, we don’t have enough access to physicians in particular areas or to culturally dynamic physicians,” says Lupe Alonzo-Diaz, president and CEO of Physicians for a Healthy California. As she explains to Futuro Health CEO Van Ton-Quinlivan, PHC tackles the issue by expanding physician training opportunities in underserved areas and by incentivizing early career physicians and dentists to accept Medicaid patients through loan forgiveness. “Those physicians come from geographically underserved communities. They also speak a second language and they’re committed to staying in those communities after they finish their service obligation.” This engaging conversation also explores addressing social determinants of health, trends in team-based care and previews a new report on how physicians who are women of color fared during the pandemic. “Women physicians of color are such a key core component to how we deliver culturally dynamic quality care and we need them to stay in their profession and continue to advance.”

Continue reading

Sandra Hernandez, CEO of California Health Care Foundation: Improving Access to Care Through Smart Workforce Strategies

What’s the value of having health insurance if you can’t access care? That’s an increasingly pertinent question for states which have successfully expanded insurance eligibility in recent years but are struggling to meet the increasing demand for healthcare. Our guest today on WorkforceRx, Dr. Sandra Hernandez, is a key player in developing solutions to this problem in her role as president and CEO of the California Health Care Foundation. One approach is to use the current workforce strategically. “We’re very focused on looking at the primary care model and the composition of the primary care team so we can use every drop of workforce that we have to its fullest capabilities.” In part, that means reserving physician time for complex cases while expanding the scope for practice for nurses and mid-level providers. Another strategy is beefing up the ranks of community health workers drawn from underserved communities. As Hernandez tells Futuro Health CEO Van Ton-Quinlivan, they have proven to be valuable public health advocates due to the trusting relationships they can build. “They can share information that is scientifically-based, and at the same time they are able to encourage people to get enrolled in the programs that they’re eligible for and get them into earlier care.” Don’t miss this veteran perspective on vexing issues facing many areas of the US — including how to care for growing numbers of immigrants and the unsheltered — and stay tuned for a dose of optimism rooted in lessons learned from the pandemic.

Continue reading