September 7, 2023

In This Issue

CalOptima Health News

More Than 3,000 Attend Back-to-School Event

Grant Funding Deadline Approaching Soon

Addressing Student Mental Health Needs

September is National PACE Month

CME/CE: Crisis Intervention/De-escalation

CalOptima Health Attends Senior Events

Encourage Preventive Care During the Fall


Community News

Community Healthworkers Conference 

Medical Respite, Housing and Homelessness

Increase in COVID-19 in Orange County 

"Super Sealants Save the Day!" Video

Be Aware of Medi-Cal Renewal Scams

CalOptima Health News

More Than 3,000 Attend Back-to-School Event

Top, from left: Avelino Valencia, Assemblymember District (AD-68); Steve Pena, City of Anaheim Police Sergeant; Lou Correa, U.S. Representative (CA-46); Yunkyung Kim, CalOptima Health COO; Tom Umberg, State Senator.

On August 26, CalOptima Health hosted a Back-to-School Event in Anaheim to help more than 3,000 children and families prepare for the beginning of the new school year. CalOptima Health COO Yunkyung Kim, Senator Tom Umberg, Representative Lou Correa and Assemblymember Avelino Valencia gave opening remarks welcoming families and thanking 30 community partners in attendance. Event highlights included: 

  • Medi-Cal renewal and applications as well as CalFresh and CalWORKS applications 
  • Free vision exams, eyeglasses, haircuts and sports physicals 
  • 700 boxes of food and 130 cases of diapers from Community Action Partnership Orange County (CAPOC)
  • 450 boxes of food and 1,185 meals from Serve the People
  • 540 bike helmets from Health Bridge Children’s Hospital 
  • 508 backpacks and school supply kits from Dreams for Schools

Grant Funding Deadline Approaching Soon

Application closes September 15, 2023 (5 p.m., PST)

In further support of the Department of Health Care Services’ Housing and Homelessness Incentive Program (HHIP), CalOptima Health is seeking applications for our Nonprofit Healthcare Academy Notice of Funding Opportunity to help build the capacity of smaller, grassroots, community-based organizations serving populations experiencing health disparities. The Academy includes a series of learning experiences, skill-building sessions and 1:1 support to prepare nonprofit organizations for contracted partnerships with CalOptima Health and other health care sectors.

Submit applications through the portal here. Interested CBOs can contact CalOptima Health Director, Medi-Cal/CalAIM Danielle Cameron or CalOptima Health Program Manager, Medi-Cal/CalAIM Jasmine Awadallah with any questions about submitting an application.

Addressing Student Mental Health Needs in Orange County Schools


On August 7, the Orange County Register quoted Carmen Katsarov, LPCC, CCM, CalOptima Health Executive Director of Behavioral Health Integration, on our collaboration with the Orange County Department of Education on a $25.5 million grant to address the county’s student mental health needs through the state’s Student Behavioral Health Incentive Program (SBHIP). “Our children are facing unprecedented levels of stressors, and the need for timely and effective mental health support has never been greater,” said Katsarov.

On August 8, KNX Radio interviewed Natalie Zavala, LMFT, CalOptima Health Director of Behavioral Health Integration, on the impact of SBHIP, which will fund all 29 Orange County school districts to help with behavioral, emotional or mental health services. “CalOptima Health has worked collaboratively with the Orange County Department of Education and the school districts to ensure this funding results in programs that are tailored to the behavioral health needs and service gaps at each school district,” said Zavala, adding that no school is the same, but the need is equally important.

September is National PACE Month

In recognition of National Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) Month in September, CalOptima Health is celebrating our PACE program in Garden Grove’s 10 anniversary. CalOptima Health PACE helps older adults ages 55 and older live independently at home, receive personalized health care and remain active in the community. We’re proud of our PACE program’s many milestones over the years, including: 

  • 2013 — CalOptima Health opened Orange County’s first PACE Center.
  • 2015 — CalOptima Health PACE enrolled its 100th participant.
  • 2019 — CalOptima Health PACE earned a No. 1 participant satisfaction score in California from Vital Research’s survey.
  • 2020–22 — CalOptima Health PACE launched “PACE Without Walls” to provide most services and telehealth in a participant’s home during the COVID-19 pandemic. When the program returned to pre-pandemic capacity, it was serving more than 400 participants, with high COVID-19 vaccination rates among eligible participants, surpassing program goals.
  • 2023 — CalOptima Health PACE celebrates 10 years of proudly serving more than 1,000 of Orange County’s older adult population throughout its program history.

CME/CE: Crisis Intervention/De-escalation

This course will present a real-life crisis situation and then share with the audience possible culturally adaptive, trauma-informed, and mindfulness-based crisis response approaches adapted from the A.P.I. Crisis Response Model. The presenter will lead and facilitate group discussion to identify effective strategies for health care providers, support staff and administrators that they can apply to ensure a more successful outcome in resolving a mental health crisis.

When: Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Time: 12:30 – 2:00 p.m.

Location: Zoom Webinar

1.5 CME and CE credits are offered. 

To attend, please register by September 18th at this link here.

For questions, please reach out to Quynh Tran/Bao Anh Le at

For more information, please see the attached flyer.

CalOptima Health Attends Senior Community Events

First image, from left: Jordan Abushawish, CalOptima Health Senior Director, Government Affairs; Young Kim, U.S. Representative (CA-46); Monica Leyva, CalOptima Health Senior Community Relations Specialist.

Second image, from left: Andy Tran, CalOptima Health PACE Enrollment Coordinator; Tri Ta, State Assemblyman (AD-70); Donovan Higbee, CalOptima Health Senior Manager, Government Affairs.

On August 18, CalOptima Health’s Community Relations and Government Affairs departments participated in U.S. Representative Young Kim’s Senior Resource Fair event at the Orange Senior Center. Then, on August 25, leaders from our PACE program and Government Affairs team joined State Assemblyman Tri Ta at his Senior Scam Stopper event in Stanton, along with Orange County Clerk-Recorder Hugh Nguyen and Orange County Auditor-Controller Andrew Hamilton. CalOptima Health serves thousands of seniors through our OneCare program (including nearly 43% of adults living in Stanton) and PACE programs. We’re grateful to Representative Kim and Assemblyman Ta for our partnership and opportunities to raise awareness about the ongoing Medi-Cal renewal process, as well as our PACE program and Community Supports for seniors.

Encourage Preventive Care During the Fall

Fall is a great time for members to check in with their doctor to make sure they are up to date on their needed tests and vaccines. 

People should still visit a doctor even if they do not feel sick, which is why CalOptima Health encourages you to remind members of the importance of receiving routine care. A doctor can find health problems early before they become too serious. These visits can also help manage long-term health conditions, such as diabetes or high blood pressure. 

Members can take charge of their health by staying current on well-care visits, screenings and vaccines. If members are due for any of these services, they can call their doctor now to make an appointment. Remind members to talk with their doctor about what care is right for them.

Members can ask their doctor about these services: 

Community News

Conference on the Increase in Community Healthworkers

Health care is undergoing an exciting transformation that requires new ways of working, learning, and strategizing together. This conference will bring together diverse stakeholders to share ideas and successful models to explore how community health workers can advance health equity.

Advance OC invites you to take part in this wonderful opportunity to engage with systems leaders, employers, practitioners, clinicians, community-based organizations and key leaders to design and create a vision for community health and the role community health workers play in bridging systems, health care and community. Join us in exploring the new Medi-Cal workforce opportunities and how this new workforce can help develop better systems of care and improve health outcomes in communities. 

The Healthcare Everywhere: The Rise of Community Healthworkers conference will be held on September 28 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Orange Coast College. It will feature diverse stakeholders and expert speakers discussing the new Medi-Cal workforce highlighting community health workers/promotoras/representatives, peer support specialists and doulas. Register here soon because space is limited.

National Webinar on Medical Respite, Housing and Homelessness

You’re invited to join a webinar from the Center for Health Care Strategies on September 11, Noon–1 p.m., to learn how Illumination Foundation, CalOptima Health and the Orange County Health Care Agency (HCA) are partnering to more smoothly transition people experiencing homelessness from medical respite care into permanent housing. The session will highlight their partnership approach, challenges they encountered and how they navigated them, and the program’s impact to date. Speakers will include: 

  • Jordan Hoiberg, Illumination Foundation Interim Director of Housing Services
  • Danielle Cameron, MPH, CalOptima Health Director of CalAIM
  • Brian Green, Ph.D., HCA Administrative Manager 

Register for the webinar here

COVID-19 Update: Recent Increase in COVID-19 In Orange County

The OC Health Care Agency (HCA), Communicable Disease Control Division is reporting an increase in positive COVID-19 PCR tests in Orange County residents over the past month. To minimize the severity of the recent increase, the HCA is reminding residents to take preventive actions to reduce the risk of severe illness or hospitalization. To read the press release, click here.

For more information on COVID-19, visit Additionally, the HCA responds to community inquiries through the Agency’s Health Referral Line at 1 (800) 564-8448, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Unveiling the New "Super Sealants Save the Day!" Video

As part of the Sealants for a Healthy Smile (SHS) promotion, Smile, California debuted the new Super Sealants Save the Day! video now in English and Spanish on and

The engaging and family-friendly video explains what sealants are and goes through the painless, step-by-step application process. Its aim is to inform parents and caregivers about the importance of regular dental check-ups and preventive dental care to ensure children and youths are healthy to learn throughout the year. Additionally, the video provides information on Medi-Cal Dental services that are covered for members.

This video is available to co-brand with your organization's logo for free if you are a Local Oral Health Program or state agency.

Be Aware of Medi-Cal Renewal Scams

CalOptima Health reminds members to be wary of Medi-Cal renewal scams. Medi-Cal will never require payment as part of the renewal process. If you receive a phone call, text or email asking you to pay for Medi-Cal, this is a fraud attempt — do not send any form of payment.

Members should only trust messages from CalOptima Health, community partners, the county and state. If a member suspects they are the victim of a Medi-Cal renewal scam, CalOptima Health urges them to call our Customer Service team toll-free at 1-888-587-8088. Members can report fraud by calling our Compliance and Ethics Hotline at 1-855-507-1805.

Help fight misinformation and scams by using messages from CalOptima Health’s Medi-Cal renewal communications toolkit. The toolkit includes information and resources about the renewal process you can share with members and community stakeholders through your communication channels and social media pages.

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