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Healthy Kids of Santa Cruz County


George Mendoza, Sutter Maternity and Surgery Center, and Jordan Turetsky, HIP Healthy Kids Manager.

In July 2004, Healthy Kids of Santa Cruz County, a program of the Health Improvement Partnership, was launched by a group of local leaders representing health care, business, philanthropy, and government. It demonstrated a community-wide commitment to provide comprehensive medical, dental, vision, and mental health coverage to all Santa Cruz County children to improve health, increase access to primary preventative care, and support success in school and in life.

The Healthy Kids program employs two strategies to achieve its goal of providing comprehensive health insurance coverage for all local children:

  • First, Healthy Kids utilizes bilingual/bicultural Certified Application Assisters to enroll eligible children age 0-18 into Medi-Cal and Healthy Families insurance programs through outreach, enrollment, and retention activities. This strategy includes the Baby Gateway program, which enrolls eligible newborns into Medi-Cal coverage before they leave the hospital, assigns them to a primary care provider, and educates mothers on well-baby care.
  • Second, Healthy Kids covers children who are ineligible for Medi-Cal and Healthy Families through the locally-funded Healthy Kids Health Plan. Families can earn up to 300% of the Federal Poverty Level (about $67,000 per year for a family of four) and citizenship is not an eligibility requirement for enrollment.

At the time of the Healthy Kids launch in 2004, it was estimated that at least 5,000 local children were uninsured. As of 2012, that number has dropped to roughly 2,400 children. Since its inception, Healthy Kids has enrolled over 23,000 local children into Medi-Cal, Healthy Families, and the Healthy Kids Health Plan, and we continue to work toward insuring all children by 2015.

Healthy Kids is made possible by First 5 of Santa Cruz County, the Santa Cruz County Health Services Agency, Sutter Maternity and Surgery Center, the Palo Alto Medical Foundation, the Central California Alliance for Health, the Community Foundation of Santa Cruz County, the United Way of Santa Cruz County, the Pajaro Valley Community Health Trust, Dominican Hospital, Watsonville Community Hospital and by generous donations from local individuals and businesses. Additionally, parents make premium contributions on an income-based, sliding scale. $1,020 provides one year of Healthy Kids Health Plan coverage for one child age 6-18.

You can help! Today there are over 400 children on a waiting list for the Healthy Kids Health Plan due to funding restrictions. A tax deductible donation will go a long way to ensuring that we can continue to cover the children currently enrolled in Healthy Kids and, eventually, eliminate the waitlist. In turn, Healthy Kids can continue to help ensure that the youth of today can and will fulfill our collective dreams for tomorrow.

Visit www.schealthykids.org or call 831.430.5604