Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics Recognized With 2019 Supporting the Safety Net Award


ACAP: Jeff Van Ness, (202) 204-7515,
CENCAL HEALTH: Nicolette Worley Marselian, (805) 617-1993,


WASHINGTON – Today, the Association for Community Affiliated Plans (ACAP) presented its fourteenth annual Supporting the Safety Net Award to Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics (SBNC). The organization was nominated for the award by ACAP member plan CenCal Health, the community-accountable health plan in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo Counties.

SBNC represents a network of clinics devoted to providing high-quality, extensive medical care to Medicaid beneficiaries and others of the Santa Barbara community. The clinics serve a diverse client population. Santa Barbara is home to a high percentage of low-income residents compared with the rest of California; about 1 in 6 Santa Barbara area residents live below the Federal Poverty Level. SNBC offers medical, dental, and behavioral services to tens of thousands of these patients. In 2018, the clinics accounted for more than 80,000 visits serving some of the community’s most vulnerable children and families, homeless adults, and uninsured patients.

“Partnerships between community-based organizations and Safety Net Health Plans are an essential element of making sure that the health needs of everyone in a community is met, especially populations with the lowest incomes,” stated ACAP CEO Margaret A. Murray. “SNBC is a vital part of the safety net in Santa Barbara County, and we couldn’t be prouder to recognize their commitment to their community.”

The Supporting the Safety Net Award recognizes a community-based organization or individual that exceeds expectations for care by implementing programs to meet the health needs of underserved populations. These role models exemplify best practices and represent an innovation in health care.

Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics’ programs include the Advanced Education in General Dentistry Residency Program, a partnership with NYU Langone Hospital aimed at addressing chronic tooth decay in children, and a Bridge Clinic program which functions as a support and referral service for at-risk adults diagnosed with substance use disorder. Additionally, “Wellness Navigators” identify children with adverse childhood experiences. Therapeutic interventions and social services are provided to their families through a resiliency program.

The organization also maintains a strong commitment to serving minority communities and delivering culturally competent care. About 63 percent of SBNC patients are Hispanic, about 2 in 3 SBNC employees are of Hispanic descent and all of their medical assistants are bilingual. SNBC is also committed to serving the transgender community and provides extensive proficiency training for all staff members to ensure the comfort of their trans patients.

“Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics makes up part of the fabric of our county’s safety net,” said CenCal Health CEO Robert Freeman. “It serves over a quarter of our Medicaid membership within its clinic region. Its conscientious approach and high-quality care are an example for all to follow. We’re privileged to partner with SBNC, and glad that its clinic staff delivers terrific care to so many of our members.”

The Supporting the Safety Net award was presented at ACAP’s annual CEO Summit in Washington, D.C.

About ACAP:
ACAP represents 66 health plans which collectively provide health coverage to more than 20 million people in 29 states. Safety Net Health Plans serve their members through Medicaid, Medicare, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), the Marketplace and other publicly-sponsored health programs. For more information, visit

About Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics:
Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics (SBNC) consists of 4 medical clinics, 2 dental clinics, an integrated care clinic, a substance disorder clinic and health promotion services. SBNC provides high quality, comprehensive, affordable healthcare to all people, regardless of their ability to pay, in an environment that fosters respect, compassion and dignity. It is a critical health safety net for Santa Barbara County and provides care to close to 22,000 unduplicated patients a year, or 1 out of 10 people in this community.

About CenCal Health:
CenCal Health’s mission is to improve the health and well-being of the communities we serve by providing access to high quality health services, along with education and outreach, for our membership. As a public entity, CenCal Health is a community-accountable health plan partnering with over 1,500 local physicians, hospitals and other providers in delivering exceptional patient care to more than 175,000 members – about one in four residents of Santa Barbara County and one in five residents of San Luis Obispo County. Established in 1983, it is the oldest managed Medicaid plan of its kind in the nation. CenCal Health employs close to 250 people at offices in both Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo, and contributes approximately $50 million a month into the local economy, primarily through payments to healthcare providers who serve their membership.

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