CenCal Health has recognized Community Health Centers of the Central Coast as the top federally qualified health center and the Del Valle clinic in Santa Maria as the top family practice.
Dr. Jeffery S. Kaplan of Santa Maria is the top pediatrics provider, and Dr. Eric Levy of Santa Maria is named top internal medicine provider. Both earned their titles for two consecutive years.
Other local providers recognized are Lompoc Health, Dr. Himat Tank in Santa Maria, Jackson Medical Group in Santa Barbara and Goleta, Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics and the Santa Barbara Public Health Department.
CenCal Health, the publicly sponsored Medi-Cal health plan for Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties, awards local physicians and healthcare centers annually through its Primary Care Providers Incentive Top Performer Awards.
In a monthly report, CenCal Health measured physician/outpatient expenses, inpatient hospital expenses, pharmacy expenses, emergency room visits, doctor and patient encounters, after hours visits, preventive medicine evaluations and increased access to care for Medi-Cal members.
The awards are calculated with 2019 performance scores and announced in 2020. There are four categories: pediatrics, family practice, internal medicine and federally qualified health centers.
FQHCs are local primary care providers that receive federal funds from the Health Resources and Services Administration.
“At CHC, we are deeply touched and honored by CenCal Health’s awards during a time when CenCal Health members and all people need their healthcare institutions to do the right thing at the right time,” said Dr. Steve Clarke, CHC medical director. “Nowhere was this truer than at our Del Valle Clinic.”
A few days into the state lockdown, CHC predicted that Northwestern Santa Maria would become the COVID-19 epicenter for Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties. Staff members created a viral evaluation center in a large part of the clinic and outfitted volunteers in personal protective equipment.
“Ever since, the Del Valle Clinic has tirelessly cared for thousands of panicked patients in a prompt, effective and culturally honoring manner,” he said.
CHC’s history goes back to 1978 when it set up practice in a small Nipomo office with seven employees and a part-time, volunteer doctor.
Now, it employs over 800 people in 31 clinics, providing over 450,000 appointments annually. It serves a variety with an emphasis on underserved populations, like the homeless, migrant and seasonal farm workers and public-housing residents.
Its clinics include family practice, pediatrics, internal medicine and OB/GYN physicians. It also employs dentists, optometrists, chiropractors, dietitians and more.
“On behalf of everyone at CenCal Health, I would like to congratulate all our PCP Top Performers. We deeply appreciate the quality care that our PCP partners give to our valuable members,” said Terri Howell, CenCal Health provider services director. “CenCal Health is dedicated to improving the health of the most vulnerable and underserved people in our communities, and we cannot care for our members without our trusted provider partnerships.”
— Annelise Hanshaw