City to connect kids with health care |

City to connect kids with health care

Sara Thompson

Three years ago, more than 500,000 children in California were eligible for state or federal health insurance but were not insured.

That statistic was the impetus for formation of the Communities for Healthy Kids Program, a three-year effort to find children who are eligible for free or low-cost health insurance and enroll them in health-care plans.

And the city of South Lake Tahoe has been selected to participate in the multiagency program, which is sponsored by the Institute for Local Government.

“The South Lake Tahoe City Council was one of the first cities in California to endorse the program when planning for it began in 2007,” City Manager David Jinkens said.

The goal is to increase the number of eligible children who have health insurance by linking residents to state- and federally-funded programs, such as Medi-Cal and El Dorado County Children’s Health Initiatives.

The city’s Parks and Recreation Department will facilitate the program, with help from El Dorado County Children’s Health Initiative. No city funds will be used.

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Parks and Recreation Director Gary Moore said the department will help connect those in need with agencies that can help them.

“We’ve got access to a lot of kids and families,” Moore said. “We don’t do health care, but we tie kids and families to these programs.”

Moore said the city is taking the lead on the project to make the various health-care options known.

Chris Hawken, Parks and Recreation deputy director, will be the program’s liaison.

“We’re a natural conduit of information,” he said.

Hawken said the program is in its beginning stages, and he’s meeting with people from the program and the county, and possibly other agencies in town to get the word out.

For more information on the program, contact the Parks and Recreation Department at (530) 542-6059.