Statement: Health Advocates Celebrate Signing of Bill to Strengthen Care to Medi-Cal Enrollees

Author Details

Monika Lee


Sacramento, CA – The California Pan-Ethnic Health Network and Latino Coalition for a Healthy California applaud Governor Newsom for signing Assembly Bill 2697 by Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar-Curry. 

Last year, the state approved adding Community Health Workers and Promotoras as a Medi-Cal benefit, meaning California’s 14 million Medi-Cal members now have access to this essential workforce. 

With the signage of AB 2697, the legislature and Governor have stepped up to prioritize culturally and linguistically accessible outreach and education to people enrolled in Medi-Cal, the vast majority of whom are Black, Indigenous, people of color. 

Community health workers and Promotoras provide basic health and medical care within their communities. CHW/Ps are trusted messengers that often come from the very communities they serve. 

Millions stand to benefit from preventive care, care that meets them where they are, and care that looks at broader determinants of health such as housing, nutrition, and access to green spaces. 

“A generation ago, my own mother was a community health worker/promotora in the City of Winters. During her 10 years of service, she helped hundreds of people in our area from all backgrounds access preventative services and essential resources — services needed in order to be healthy where they live, work, and play,” said Assemblymember Aguiar-Curry. “We used to talk about the numerous barriers her clients faced, many of which are still faced today. Many households did not, and still do not, have reliable internet access. Without proactive outreach to eligible Californians, there is great risk that we will not reach the very people we most need to service.” 

“Community health workers and promotoras (CHW/Ps) are an effective and proven strategy long utilized by community-based organizations and clinics to address health disparities for Latinx and hard to reach populations. AB 2697 will ensure the state’s new CHW/P Medi-Cal benefit is equitably implemented through ongoing stakeholder engagement, and that beneficiaries across the state will be informed on their ability to access these preventative and critical health services through culturally and linguistically appropriate outreach and education. This is a step forward to address the health needs and diminish long-standing health disparities for California’s most diverse communities,” said Dr. Jeffrey Reynoso, Executive Director, Latino Coalition for a Healthy California

“As we expand Medi-Cal to more people than ever in the midst of a health care worker shortage, Community Health Workers and Promotores are uniquely positioned to fulfill the promises of health equity. AB 2697 will prioritize educational outreach to community members and ensure a diverse stakeholder group can come together and continue important work to further support the CHW workforce,” says Kiran Savage-Sangwan, Executive Director of the California Pan-Ethnic Health Network. “We thank Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar-Curry for her leadership and to the Senate and Assembly. Thank you, Governor Newsom, for signing AB 2697 and uplifting this important workforce.”