Health Care Resources
There is a somewhat complex patchwork of programs and agencies making health care services available to immigrants. This is an attempt to provide information about those services and agencies.
Immigrants may be concerned about the “public charge” issue. Public charge applies to federally funded programs, not state programs in California. However, some categories of Medi-Cal are federal, some state, and some a combination. In April 2021 a court negated the Trump administration’s extreme interpretation of public charge, but it can still be an issue. Overall, public charge is a complex legal issue. If there’s any question as to whether a specific program is of concern, an expert on immigration law should be consulted.
AVAILABLE PROGRAMS TO PAY FOR CARE:
PRUCOL provides Full-Scope Medi-Cal. It stands for Permanently Residing in the U.S. Under Color Of Law and is a category used solely for Medi-Cal, not for immigration purposes. An immigrant may claim to be PRUCOL when they have a good faith belief that U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) knows of their presence in the U.S. and does not intend to deport them. PRUCOL includes immigrants who have applied for legal status and are waiting for a response. Some examples of PRUCOL status include:
Asylum and refugee status
U Nonimmigrant Status and T Nonimmigrant Status (“U Visa” and “T-Visa”)
Applicant for cancellation of removal or suspension of deportation
Grantee of an indefinite stay of deportation or voluntary departure
Grantee of voluntary departure and awaiting issuance of a visa
Deferred Action status, including Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)
Others eligible for Full-Scope Medi-Cal include:
Pregnant and postpartum women
Children up through age 18
Young adults ages 19-25
Beginning in 2022 Medi-Cal coverage will be extended to undocumented immigrants age 50 and over.
Central California Alliance for Health:
Phone number is 800.700.3874.
The Alliance is the managed care Medi-Cal provider for Santa Cruz, Monterey and Merced counties. Those who receive full-scope Medi-Cal receive their insurance coverage from the Alliance. The Alliance will provide free rides to medical appointments to eligible members through a ride service, CalltheCar. Members must call the Alliance for pre-approval and to schedule a ride.
Limited Scope or Emergency Medi-Cal:
May provide coverage for people who don’t qualify for Full Scope Medi-Cal in the event of an illness or injury.
This is a Santa Cruz County program of last resort which provides specific coverage for health issues as they arise for people who don’t qualify for any of the other programs and who have been residents in Santa Cruz County for at least six months.
Dignity Health has a free mobile wellness clinic (accepts donations) which provides certain services including:
Evaluation and treatment of episodic Medi-Cal conditions
Identification of Medi-Cal homes for those patients with chronic needs
Identification of social services and resources in the community.
Their website is dignityhealth.org and search for wellness clinic. That leads to a monthly calendar with variable hours and locations. Appointments are recommended and can be made by calling 831.462-7589
Rotacare provides a free clinic Tuesday evenings at Star of the Sea Church. It is first come first served, doors open at 5:00 PM. More information available at 831 588-7004.
Medi-Cal Home Clinics:
These clinics provide primary care services to their clients. They charge sliding scale fees for uninsured people and have eligibility workers who can assist with getting Medi-Cal coverage.
Santa Cruz County Health Services Agency Provides Medi-Cal care for individuals with Medi- Cal, MediCruz and self-pay.
Santa Cruz Health Center located on 1080 Emeline Street | Phone number 831.454.4000
Watsonville Health Center at 1430 Freedom Blvd | Phone number 831. 763.8400
Homeless Persons’ Health Project (HPHP) located on 115-A Coral St. | Phone 831 .454.2080
In addition to Medi-Cal care, mental health counseling/ services are available and referrals to specialists. These clinics are an excellent resource for people who need to see an eligibility worker and establish coverage.
Santa Cruz Community Health
Provides primary care services including pediatrics, women’s health and prenatal care, chiropractic, acupuncture, counseling, and insurance enrollment at two
Eastcliff Family Health Center located on 21507 East Cliff Drive in Live Oak
Women’s Health Center 250 Locust Street, downtown.
Call 831. 427.3500 to make appointments at either location. They accept Medi-Cal, can help clients enroll, and offer a sliding scale for uninsured clients.
Salud para la Gente
Primary care clinics at several locations in Watsonville and Freedom. Dental and vision services provided, prenatal care, pediatrics, counseling. Their website says: "We serve everyone in the Pájaro Valley community" — whether or not you are able to pay. You can call us day or night for help and advice. We can help you apply for health insurance and other kinds of assistance. Call 831. 728.0222 to schedule a appointment.
Planned Parenthood Mar Monte
Call 831.426.5550 to schedule a appointment in the Santa Cruz location
Call 831.724.7525 to schedule a appointment in the Watsonville location.
Both provide primary care and reproductive health care, adults and children. Accept Medi-Cal. Do not provide primary care services to uninsured but do provide reproductive health services on sliding scale to uninsured.
Dientes Community Dental has bilingual offices in Santa Cruz and Watsonville. They accept Medi-Cal and charge a sliding scale fee based on documented income for people who are uninsured. Call the main clinic at 831.464.5409 to schedule a appointment.
Salud para la Gente provides basic dental and emergency care and referrals in Watsonville. They accept Medi-Cal and have a sliding scale for uninsured clients. Call 831.728.0222 to schedule a appointment.
Private Dental Offices
There are several in the county who accept Medi-Cal. See the PDF from Santa Cruz Health Agency linked at the bottom of the document for Watsonville. In Santa Cruz, Western Dental and Dr. Mohana Awasthi accept Medi-Cal.
Salud para la Gente provides vision care, eye exams, glasses, referrals, etc to clients of all ages. They accept Medi-Cal and have sliding scale fees for uninsured clients.
Lion’s Club may provide glasses and pay for vision exams and eye surgeries, call 831.423.2352
Several in the county accept Medi-Cal. See the link to the PDF from Santa Cruz Health Agency at the bottom of the document.
Counseling is available, though somewhat limited and often offered by phone, through the clinics at Santa Cruz County Health and Santa Cruz Community Health, as well as Planned Parenthood and Salud para la Gente.
Encompass: May be a long wait list.
County Access: 800-952-2335
A table showing eligibility of California immigrants for various health programs:
Describes the Medi Cruz Program Eligibility and Benefits
Dignity Health Mobile Wellness Clinic Services and Locations
Rotacare Clinic Location and Hours
Santa Cruz Health Services Agency Clinics and Services
Santa Cruz Community Health Information, Locations, Etc.
Salud para la Gente Information, Locations, Etc.
New Ruling on Public Charge
Sutter PAMF Charity Care
County Health Services Agency list of Dentists and Optometrists who Accept Medi-Cal