Latino Leaders Unveil Ambitious National Agenda

The group recommends institutionalizing voter mobilization and education as a government function, increasing Latinos’ access to capital to spur business and job creation, universal health coverage, more equitable COVID-19 testing, contact tracing and treatment, a pipeline for Latinos and other underserved workers into clean energy and the green economy, progressive immigration reform, an immediate and indefinite moratorium on deportations and universal access to preschool.

State Sen. Maria Elena Durazo, AltaMed CEO Castulo de la Rocha, California Primary Care Association CEO Carmela Castellano-Garcia and Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund President Thomas A. Saenz were also part of the group that put together the agenda.

Read more in the Voice of San Diego here.

The new COVID-19 rationing: Testing just got harder to get in California

Some providers, like those at health centers, have been trying to do more of their own testing, but struggle to get tests, said Carmela Castellano Garcia, the CEO of the California Primary Care Association, which represents the state’s health centers.

While some have adequate supplies, she said, health centers in areas like south central Los Angeles have reported having only 10 tests on hand at a time. “That means they’re getting hundreds of calls from people wanting to be tested who they cannot accommodate,” she said.

Read more in CalMatters

REOPENING THE GOLDEN STATE: Safety Unknowns Await Returning Medical and Dental Workers

The California Primary Care Association (CPCA), says its president, Carmela Castellano-Garcia, calculated that more than 205 of California’s 1,300 federally qualified clinics — which serve up to 7 million low-income and immigrant Californians — shut their offices at the start of the crisis, meaning that poor, mainly immigrant patients either had to travel further for treatment or had to make do with phone visits with doctors in lieu of in-person exams.

Read more here in Capital and Main

Advocates Plead for Federal Dollars as Health Centers Close Across CA

Carmela Castellano-Garcia, president and CEO with the California Primary Care Association, said 22 of the state’s largest clinics are really hurting financially.

“We are swept in the funding allocations that are not specific to health center needs. And so therefore our needs have not been addressed,” Castellano-Garcia said. “So that is why we will continue to push for health center-specific funding.”

The latest tranche of federal funding allocated dollars for safety-net hospitals but excluded health centers, so advocates are asking the Department of Health and Human Services to carve out a specific fund for the centers.

Read more here at the Public News Service

Why coronavirus spurred health providers of all sizes to rapidly adopt virtual visits

Carmela Castellano-Garcia works with the leaders of many clinics that will benefit from the Health Net grants as the chief executive officer of the California Primary Care Association.

“Our clinics are on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic and continue to face increased financial strain that limits their ability to best serve patients—many of whom are Medi-Cal enrollees,” she said. “The funding provided and expedited by Health Net will enable clinics to build out much-needed telehealth capabilities and support those who serve our state’s most vulnerable.”

Read more in the Sacramento Bee