There are many health care services in Ventura County for military, civilians and veterans, though implementation of the Affordable Care Act has changed established insurance options. Visit www.healthcare.gov for information on open enrollment for health care coverage under the national Affordable Care Act. California is among the states that implemented its own health care plan, Medi-Cal, and today there are approximately 13 million Medi-Cal beneficiaries in all 58 California counties enrolled in one of the six main models of managed care offered by a dozen carriers. Go to the Covered California website, www.coveredca.com, for additional information.
The state’s Medi-Cal helpline (800-541-5555) can assist applicants trying to navigate their numerous health insurance choices.
The Ventura County Human Services Agency (866-904-9362) handles local Medi-Cal matters at its Oxnard Intake & Eligibility Center, 1400 Vanguard Drive. Children & Family Services are available at the same
location, 805-240-2700. Veterans needing assistance should contact the county’s HSA Administration & Veteran Services, 5740 Ralston St., Suite 304, in Ventura (805-466-5155).
See the Advertiser Directory in this guide to connect with local hospitals and medical centers, health care centers and health care providers.
COMMUNITY HEALTH CARE CLINICS AND RESOURCES
A community health center or clinic is customarily the place to go for those who have no health insurance or have limited income or ability to pay medical fees. Such clinics accept most insurance and provide affordable, comprehensive health care by well-trained, professional staff. They also serve those who are uninsured and underinsured, and most are open to making sliding scale payment arrangements based on income and family size.
For a list of community health centers and their services in Ventura County, visit the Ventura County Health Care Agency website at www.vchca.org/public-health/public-health-clinics.
The Dental Board of California (www.dbc.ca.gov) can confirm if a dentist you are considering is licensed, and you can also seek referrals from people you know who have had dental care in the area.
Consider the following to find the best dentist for your needs.
- Are the office hours convenient for your schedule?
- Is the dental office close to your home or office?
- How are dental emergencies handled?
- Does the office appear to be clean and well organized?
- Is the staff helpful and friendly?
- What are the financial policies and how is insurance handled?
A good relationship with your dentist is essential to good oral health care. So take your time and choose one that you and your family feel comfortable with.
In addition, the Santa Barbara-Ventura County Dental Society lists clinics offering low-cost care at www.sbvcds.org.
The California Department of Public Health’s Oral Health Program includes access to low-cost dental services, and so does the Medi-Cal Dental Program. Go to www.cdph.ca.gov/programs/Pages/Low-CostDentalServices.aspx for more information or to find the nearest clinic. Another useful Oral Health Program site, www.cdph.ca.gov/programs/MCAHOralHealth, links to authoritative advice on maintaining dental health from childhood through the senior years.
FINDING A LOCAL DOCTOR
The best rule in finding a health care provider is the sooner, the better. Before arriving at your new assignment, check the Medical Board of California’s online directory at www.mbc.ca.gov. You can browse for a provider or license status by type, name or location.
Referrals from friends or other medical personnel can add to your options. Building trust with a health care provider takes time, so don’t wait until a family member is ill to find a doctor, nurse practitioner or other health care provider.
Keep in mind the following tips and questions as you look for a health care provider.
- Ask health insurance plans and medical offices for information on their doctors’ training and experience.
- Use AMA Resources for Patients, the American Medical Association’s free physicians’ information service at www.ama-assn.org.
- Has the doctor completed several years of training in a specialty and passed an exam? Check out the American Board of
- Medical Specialties at www.abms.org, call 866-275-2267 or write to the ABMS, 353 N. Clark St., Suite 1400, Chicago,
- Has anyone registered a complaint or taken disciplinary action against the doctor? Call the Medical Board of California at 800-633-2322 or 906-263-2382, or visit its website.
Call the doctor’s office and ask for an appointment. Most doctors will take time to meet potential patients, but you should expect a nominal fee for the use of his or her time.
When you meet a doctor and the staff for the first time, consider the following: When scheduling the appointment, was the receptionist friendly, prompt and professional? Did he or she take time to answer your questions? Were you left on hold too long? When you arrived, were you greeted promptly? Was the reception area clean and comfortable? Was the staff friendly and willing to answer your questions? Did you have to wait long in the exam room before the doctor arrived? Was the exam room orderly and clean, with a chair for a family member to sit in? When the doctor arrived and introduced himself or herself, was it with a smile? Did you feel comfortable revealing personal information? Did the doctor seem caring, compassionate and sympathetic to your concerns?
Treat finding a doctor as seriously as looking for a new job or a new home. Depending on the length of time you will be in the area, this relationship is a long-term commitment, and you want to be comfortable with the person who will see you while you are most vulnerable.