California Association of Health Insuring Organizations

SBRHA Logo CenCal Health
(Formerly the Santa Barbara Regional Health Authority)

4050 Calle Real
Santa Barbara, California 93110

Established: September 1,1983
Membership: 43,000


Budget Allocation

Budget Allocation

By the early 1980s, local government and health care community members in Santa Barbara County were feeling the strain of providing care for the region’s growing Medi-Cal population through the challenging, often ineffective fee-for-service Medi-Cal program. Enter the Santa Barbara Health Authority (SBRHA), a "grand experiment" (by one local newspaper’s account) aimed at making half of the county’s 640 physicians the "gate-keepers" of primary care for its then 24,800 Medi-Cal beneficiaries.

SBRHA was launched in September of 1983, becoming the nation’s first federally designated pilot program for the County Organized Health System model. Its initial budget that year was five percent less than what the state expected to pay out under Medi-Cal’s traditional fee-for-service program. Since its establishment, SBRHA has set the benchmark of excellence among California’s leading public and private health plans. By continually refining efficiencies and improving quality care standards, the plan has achieved the following:

  • A 65 percent reduction in Emergency Room utilization among members.
  • Becoming the health plan in Santa Barbara County’s with the largest provider network, and third largest health plan in terms of members enrolled.
  • Consistently high ratings as one of California’s most efficiently managed health plans.
  • A savings of millions of tax dollars in annual Medi-CaI expenditures.
  • A member satisfaction rating of over 90 percent.
  • Plan coverage of more than 100 drugs not included on the State Formulary.
  • Achievement of the highest HEDIS® quality scores among all Medi-Cal managed care health plans in California for 1999.
  • Recognized by the State for its design of an outstanding diabetes management program.
  • Receipt of a Health Care Service Plan License from the California Department of Managed Health Care for the Authority's Health Families product line.
  • Serving as the sole health plan contractor to the State for the AIM program in Santa Barbara County.
  • A community voice in policy development and implementation through SBRHA’s "Community Advisory Board."

Local Contracted ProvidersWith a solid infrastructure and proven track record, SBRHA is now looking ahead toward the integration of all publicly funded county health care programs into its system. It also hopes to evolve into a service bureau and electronic depository for the region’s medical records, related regional medical data and data analysis.

To meet the needs of new and existing member populations, SBRHA also is looking into plans for expansion and further diversification of its services and benefits. Examples include a plan to manage the Denti-Cal program in the County with the objective of enhancing access to these services for Medi-Cal beneficiaries, and the development of a Medicare+Choice product based upon a non-profit model.

On January 1, 2008, the Santa Barbara Regional Health Authority changed its name to CenCal Health in preparation of providing medical services to the Medi-Cal beneficiaries of both Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties.

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