Pending federal approval, Tulare County’s indigent residents will have improved access to preventative medical coverage as early as next month through the Low Income Health Program or LIHP.
On Tuesday, the Tulare County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the LIHP, also known as TulareCare, as presented by staff from the Health & Human Services Agency (HHSA). It is expected that TulareCare will serve at least 1,500 Tulare County residents ages 19-64 whose income is at or below 75% of the poverty level.
“This program is important because it provides health coverage for thousands of low income residents who typically seek basic services through local emergency rooms,” said Pete Vander Poel, Chairman of the Board of Supervisors. “We hope residents who qualify will apply and begin to utilize preventative care in lieu of unnecessary emergency room visits thus reducing wait times for all Tulare County residents”.
TulareCare will offer a core package of medical services, lab services, mental health benefits, physical therapy, podiatry, prosthetic and orthotic devices, and prescriptions. In order to enroll for benefits through TulareCare, residents must meet income, age and residency requirements.
“The goal of TulareCare is to provide a bridge to healthcare reform and assist our community in preparing for the changes that will take place in 2014 under the Affordable Care Act” said Jason Britt, Director of Human Services for Tulare County Health & Human Services Agency.
The program will be financed through a County and Federal partnership, each contributing to a portion of the funding.
Tulare County Health & Human Services Agency Director, Dr. Cheryl Duerksen stated “I am pleased with the collaboration among our multiple community partners, including the Foundation for Medical Care of Tulare and Kings Counties, Kaweah Delta District Hospital, Tulare Regional Medical Center, Sierra View District Hospital, Family Health Care Network.