Photo: San Mateo Medical Center

Program Update: September 2017


The concept of Whole Person Care (WPC) is premised on the recognition that the best way to care for people with complex needs is to consider their full spectrum of needs—medical, behavioral, socioeconomic and beyond—in a coordinated and integrated way.

Patients receiving WPC can have a better expe­rience of care, as their needs are more fully addressed without having to navigate multiple programs and systems on their own. By receiving customized support to help meet their fundamental needs, patients can ultimately enjoy healthier lives.   In addition, greater care coordination enables safety net providers across the spectrum of need to more efficiently and effectively use their resources, maximizing their ability to im­prove patient health outcomes and making limited resources go further to help more people in the community.


California’s Section 1115 Medicaid waiver, Medi-Cal 2020, includes a $3 billion pilot program to improve care for Medi-Cal beneficiaries by supporting local efforts that embrace the WPC philosophy.  In collaboration with the California State Association of Counties, the County Behavioral Health Directors Association, the County Health Executives Association of California, the County Welfare Directors Association, the Local Health Plans of California, SEIU California, and the Corporation for Supportive Housing, California’s public health care systems were a driving force behind the creation of the WPC Pilot program, and in many counties public health care systems will be leading the local implementation efforts.

Many local California communities, particularly at the county level, have already demonstrated the potential for integrated, patient-centered care through better coordination of physical and behavioral health and social services to help meet patients’ holistic needs, such as housing and food.  The Whole Person Care Pilot program represents a significant opportunity to scale, strengthen, and sustain these efforts in a meaningful way.

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