For the past few years, healthcare administrators and providers have been getting ready for the Affordable Care Act by re-examining and making changes to their current systems. They are preparing for an influx of newly insured patients, attempting to position themselves as providers of choice within their communities and working on developing health homes and accountable care organizations. The Blue Shield of California Foundation believes that integration and coordination of services across the safety net is critical to achieving a stronger, more effective system of care for California’s underserved. To this end, in 2011, the Foundation invested approximately $5 million in safety net integration projects across the state. This brief describes the first two projects that the Foundation supported with initial $500,000 grants: 1) the implementation of eConsult, an electronic specialty care referral and consultation system, in Los Angeles County, and 2) the launch of a health information exchange (HIE) in San Joaquin County.
These profiles provide a brief overview of the projects—highlighting key components of the system, describing the process that led to the launch and anecdotal reflections from professionals involved with the two systems. The Foundation hopes that this information will be useful to others who are considering, designing, piloting or implementing similar projects.