Fast Facts

Foundation of the Safety Net

California’s 21 public health care systems serve as the foundation of the safety net, delivering care to all who need it, regardless of insurance status, immigration status, ability to pay, or other circumstance. Primarily, public health care systems serve individuals from historically marginalized communities, including persons of color, individuals experiencing financial hardship or homelessness, and individuals with complex social and medical needs.
Photo Credit: Santa Clara Valley Medical Center.

Across public health care systems, nearly 60% of patients identify as persons of color and 37% of patients identify as Hispanic or Latino

Comprehensive Services

Public health care systems in California provide a comprehensive range of services, including primary care, outpatient specialty care, emergency and inpatient services, rehabilitative services, and in some instances, long-term care. Though accounting for just 6% of hospitals in the state, these public health care systems:

  • Serve more than 3.7 million patients annually, a 30% increase since 2014
  • Operate in 15 counties where more than 80% of the State’s population lives
  • Provide nearly half of all hospital care to the remaining uninsured in California
  • Provide 40% of all hospital care to Medi-Cal beneficiaries in the communities they serve
  • Operate over half of all California’s top-level trauma and burn centers
  • Provide over 10 million outpatient visits each year
  • Operate more than 200 outpatient clinics
  • Train nearly half of all new doctors in hospitals across the state
  • Employ nearly 90,000 individuals

Public health care systems provide 40% of all hospital care to Medi-Cal beneficiaries in the communities they serve

In the communities where public health care systems serve:

  • 131,000 individuals experience homeless
  • 3.4 million individuals experience food insecurity
  • 3.7 million individuals live below the federal poverty line
  • 2.3 million individuals remain uninsured

Public health care systems are leveraging their comprehensive services and connections with other counties and community organizations to meet these social needs.