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Intersections of Public Health

Santa Cruz County Public Health Priorities

Mimi Hall, Director of Santa Cruz County Health Services Agency (HSA), articulated the Division of Public Health’s updated vision and mission to more efficiently serve their partners and cultivate better health for all [Figure 1]. The Public Health Department aims to align local strategic planning with state and national pursuits in cultivating a healthier community.

Communicable Disease Unit

Santa Cruz County Department of Public Health’s vision is to increase health for all citizens. One way this Department is approaching this goal is by expanding their Communicable Disease (CD) unit, specifically their epidemiology team. The expansion of this unit aligns with the Department of Public Health’s data-driven focus and commitment to quality services. Kelly deBaene, epidemiologist and Manager at HSA in the CD unit, discussed the growth of their epidemiology team, as well as steps that local healthcare providers can take to prevent and control disease outbreaks.

Kelly explained that the CD unit creates action plans, researches solutions, and responds to/prepares for disease outbreaks. Disease reporting is an essential component in executing the CD unit’s operations.

Providers are highly encouraged to report disease cases directly to the Department of Public Health, CD unit. The CD unit reporting protocol is as follows:

  • Immediate intervention to prevent spread

  • Investigation to understand the source

  • Additional data collection to develop a comprehensive analysis

We’re Still Here: Stories of Seniors and Social Isolation

Executive Director at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History (MAH), Nina Simon, spoke about past and future MAH exhibits. She introduced an upcoming exhibit on senior and social isolation in Santa Cruz County. The prevalence of social isolation among seniors is highly stigmatized and is an emerging health epidemic [Figure 2]. While art alone will not solve health issues such as social isolation, highlighting social trends and creating conversations can lead to community awareness and solutions.

The upcoming exhibit, titled, “We’re Still Here” will display the power that personal stories possess to energize the community in addressing senior isolation. Nina hopes “We’re Still Here” will raise empathy in museum exhibit attendees and lead to practical community solutions to senior isolation in the county.

To attend the MAH “We’re Still Here” exhibit, visit the Second Floor Solari Gallery between April 5th and September 22nd, 2019.

To become a “We’re Still Here” sponsor, contact Jonathan Hicken (, the Director of Development & Partnerships at the MAH.

Alliance 340B Drug Pricing Project

The Central California Alliance for Health (CCAH) proposed a new plan to support Covered Entities (CE) in adding CCAH pharmacy claims to their 340B programs in a compliant manner. Under the existing 340B program, CEs can purchase medication at a discounted rate, receive reimbursement for the retail price, and keep the difference of funds. CEs can also submit Medicaid Drug Rebate claims on the same medication. When a CE receives both these reimbursements, it is called a “duplicate discount,” which is prohibited and causes a financial loss for the State of California. To combat this loss, CEs, State Medicaid Agencies, and Medi-Cal Health Plans will be held accountable by the Health Resources and Services Administration, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and California Department of Health Care Services for any duplicative discounts received and/or claims made on a drug. The CCAH 340B project will require CEs to enter a compliance agreement with a third-party clearinghouse to cross reference Medi-Cal 340B claims. CEs will be charged a small correction fee to correct “duplicative discounts.”

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