Professionals hired for CHC clinics in Lompoc, AG and Santa Maria


Staff Report


Four new physicians (three primary care and one pediatrician) have been hired by Community Health Centers of the Central Coast (CHC) for its clinics in Lompoc, Arroyo Grande and Santa Maria. Funding for the new hires was made possible by CenCal Health, the publicly-sponsored health plan for Medi-Cal in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties.

Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics (SBNC) recruited a pediatrician for its Goleta clinic, as well as a psychiatric nurse practitioner in Santa Barbara, also with funds granted by CenCal Health. By October, six new medical practitioners started serving local communities because of an initiative that covers physician recruitment costs, among other improvements for patient care.

At the start of 2021, in response to noted gaps in access to health care locally, CenCal Health implemented a Network Access Improvement program. The initiative focuses on increasing primary and specialty care capacity for local Medi-Cal members, as well as improving access to care for children and disabled members.

These priorities are accomplished in two ways — by recruiting new medical professionals to the health plan’s network, and by funding specialized medical equipment such as audiology testing devices, vaccine refrigerators and exam room apparatus that accommodates the needs of mobility impaired patients.

In the next few years, the Central Coast is expected to experience a wave of retiring physicians. CenCal Health’s Network Access Improvement program proactively addresses this future physician shortage and strives to attract new specialists to the area.