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.

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