WellSpace Health and UC Davis Health Team Up to Expand Access to Specialty Care for Medi-Cal Patients

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Jan. 20, 2023) – WellSpace Health and UC Davis Health announced a new partnership today which increases access to high-need specialty care for patients covered by Medi-Cal. The new program, called Specialty Connect, embeds a UC Davis Health specialty providers in WellSpace Health’s Oak Park Community Health Center to increase access to care for historically underserved populations.

“Today we stand at the threshold of building the best specialty network ever offered to people covered by Medi-Cal in the Sacramento region,” said Dr. Jonathan Porteus, CEO of WellSpace Health. “When we align our mission with our partners, there is no limit to what we can do for those we serve.”

“UC Davis Health is proud to be part of this vital partnership with WellSpace Health aimed at overcoming health equity obstacles for underserved patients,” said Dr. David Lubarsky, CEO of UC Davis Health and Vice Chancellor for Human Health Sciences. “We’ve listened to patients, and we’ve learned they’d rather access their health care conveniently, in locations closer to home. This is how we increase access to specialty care. Our goal is to help people – no matter their circumstances – to lead healthy lives in the most accessible, advanced and convenient ways possible.”

The first specialty offered in Specialty Connect is Rheumatology. A rheumatologist focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of diseases that affect the muscles, bones, joints, ligaments, and tendons. These diseases can cause pain, swelling, stiffness, and in some cases joint deformities. Historically, Rheumatology has been a high-need specialty in Sacramento that, despite best efforts, often requires long wait times and/or traveling long distances for patients insured through Medi-Cal.

Planning is underway to bring additional high-need specialty services to Medi-Cal patients with Specialty Connect, which may include pulmonology, gastroenterology, and pediatric specialties.

“Wrapping a patient in a seamless system of care is invaluable to a person’s health,” said Dr. Janine Bera, WellSpace Health’s Chief Medical Officer. “Specialty Connect provides much needed specialty care allowing us to create individualized treatment plans that recognize the comprehensive needs of Medi-Cal patients.”

WellSpace Health and UC Davis Health partnered with Sacramento’s Medi-Cal managed care health plans (Anthem Blue Cross, Molina Healthcare, and Health Net) and participating Independent Physician Associations (Nivano Physicians, Hill Physicians, and Imperial Health), to build the expanded referral network.

Medi-Cal patients may be referred to care through any of seven Federally Qualified Health Centers that serve the Sacramento region:

  • Elica Health
  • Health and Life Organization (HALO)
  • One Community Health
  • Peach Tree Health
  • Sacramento County Primary Care Clinic
  • Sacramento Native American Health Center (SNAHC)
  • WellSpace Health

Specialty Connect builds on Medi-Cal focused care provided by WellSpace Health and UC Davis Health.

WellSpace Health is the region’s largest FQHC serving more than 1,400 patients per day at more than 30 centers across Sacramento, Placer, and Amador county. Always seeking to meet patients’ unmet healthcare needs, WellSpace Health currently offers comprehensive medical, dental, behavioral health, and supportive services to its 125,000 unduplicated patients. As a specialty provider, WellSpace Health operates one of the region’s largest Medi-Cal focused Women’s Health programs which includes pregnancy care and Breast Cancer Screening, and offers in-house endocrinology, podiatry, musculoskeletal, chiropractic, and acupuncture.

UC Davis Health is improving lives and transforming health care by providing excellent patient care, conducting groundbreaking research, fostering innovative health education, and creating dynamic partnerships to improve public health for everyone. UC Davis Health is committed to providing access to care and reducing health disparities as part of our mission to improve public health for the community overall. We provide care for tens of thousands of Medi-Cal patients at UC Davis Medical Center, in our outpatient clinics, and through partnerships with a robust network of Federally Qualified Health Centers throughout the Sacramento region. For more information, visit health.ucdavis.edu.