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Public Health Care Systems Well Positioned to Help California Achieve Equitable Vaccine Distribution

OAKLAND, CA, January 26, 2021 – Today, Governor Newsom announced a statewide structure for the distribution and administration of COVID-19 vaccines, in an effort to accelerate and streamline the distribution process and ensure equity, particularly for those disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. As part of that effort, the Governor has included the state’s 21 public health care systems in the statewide unified network.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, California’s public health care systems have been serving an integral role in the state’s COVID-19 response, particularly for those who are most vulnerable. “Communities of color have long relied on public health care systems for primary, specialty, and hospital care – and that’s more true today than ever,” said Erica Murray, President and CEO, California Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems (CAPH). “Many of their beds are filled with essential workers and others who have been hardest hit by COVID-19.”

California’s 21 public health care systems, which include county-affiliated systems and the five University of California academic medical centers, together form the core of the state’s health care safety net. Though accounting for just 6% of hospitals in the state, public health care systems operate in 15 counties where more than 80% of the state’s population lives. They provide 38% of all hospital care to California’s remaining uninsured and 36% of all hospital care to Medi-Cal beneficiaries in the communities they serve. These 21 health care systems serve 2.85 million patients annually, operate more than 200 outpatient clinic facilities, and provide more than 10 million outpatient visits each year. They operate more than half of California’s top-level burn and trauma centers, and train half of all new doctors in hospitals across the state.

Consequently, public health care systems have deep expertise treating and connecting with low-income communities, including non-English-speaking patients, and those with complex social needs, such as homelessness.

“Public health care systems are logical partners in any effort to achieve equitable care,” said Murray. “We look forward to working with the Governor, his team, and the Legislature to ensure that public health care systems have sufficient resources in order to ensure we vaccinate communities efficiently and equitably.”


About the California Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems

The California Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems (CAPH) is the trade association representing the 21 county-affiliated and University of California academic medical centers.  For moremailto:www.caph.org information, visit www.caph.org.

Media Contact:

Megan Renfrew
Director of Communications