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Families Together Sets Model for Assisting Immigrants in Need of Essential Health Services via Medi-Cal Expansion



TUSTIN, Calif., April 28, 2022 – On May 1, more than 200,000 Californians, will be eligible for full-scope Medi-Cal benefits regardless of immigration status, granting them access to essential medical, dental, vision, mental health and wellness services. Families Together of Orange County has been assisting members of the community with applications, education and legal information related to the program. The nonprofit is on track to help more than 50 families obtain instant access to Medi-Cal benefits in the first week of the expansion.

Within its own patient database, Families Together of Orange County, a nonprofit community health center, has already identified more than 6,800 patients who could now qualify for Medi-Cal under the expansion. To tackle the caseload, the nonprofit created a new Medi-Cal enrollment assistance team, called the Social Services Liaison program, which is dedicated to educating and assisting members of the community with the application process for Medi-Cal. 

Soledad Rivera, Director of Business Development, who oversees the program says:

“This is a big opportunity to bring much needed health services to some of the most vulnerable populations in our community. The expansion of Medi-Cal to those over 50, regardless of immigration status, is a long time coming, but it’s important to provide all applicants with the knowledge and education in a manner that is familiar and comfortable for them – meaning that assistance in their native language and personnel who understand their culture is crucial. Our Social Services Liaison program is just that.”

With language and cultural barriers hindering access to essential services for many immigrants, the Social Services Liaison program at Families Together is increasing access to the education necessary to give all members of the community the opportunity to be well-informed about the expansion, their legal rights as it relates to the program, and the benefits available to them. 

The Social Services Liaisons, case workers who guide applicants through the process, go further than just assisting with filling out the application. From the documents necessary to apply, all the way through to signing up for a Primary Care Provider after the application is approved, each Social Services Liaison is right there with the applicant every step of the way. Families Together is also working with legal experts to help immigrants understand their rights as they apply for Medi-Cal services, which is a fear for some who think that applying for the service would be a public charge. 

All work will come to fruition on May 2, when applications can finally be processed. Those with appointments to process applications on this day will be able to receive same-day notice of approval and in some cases, immediate access to services.

Families Together is accepting appointments with its bilingual Social Services Liaisons to assist with Medi-Cal applications. The service is offered free of charge to all members of the community, including those who are not patients at Families Together of Orange County. Applicants have the option to choose Families Together as their medical home for all health and wellness services if the application is approved, but it is not a requirement. Those interested can fill out the appointment request form on the Families Together website here. It can also be accessed at bit.ly/MediCalExpansion in English and bit.ly/ExpansionMediCal in Spanish. 

About Families Together of Orange County Community Health Center

Since 2003, Families Together of Orange County Community Health Center (FTOC) has proudly served the Orange County community with a myriad of health services while providing a welcoming, multi-lingual and patient – centered medical home to all. FTOC is a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit, FQHC look-alike, a member of the Coalition of Orange County Community Health Centers and the California Primary Care Association.

Please visit www.familiestogetheroc.org for more information on Families Together of Orange County and for the latest updates.