Health policy and program development, research, and evaluation

California farmworker families face unique challenges with the coronavirus and require targeted assistance to keep families and communities safe.

See a short summary of why farmworkers are disproportionately affected by COVID-19 and and how we need to help ensure the safety of farmworker communities and the products that they produce.

  • Farmworkers are largely uninsured and lack access to basic health services.
  • Farmworkers are deemed to be “essential critical infrastructure workers,” yet are at a particular risk of COVID-19.
  • As a predominantly immigrant and low income population, farmworkers may shun even basic preventive and public health care services.

What we need to do:

Access to health services

  • Ensure free testing and coverage for all COVID-19 related care regardless of insurance and immigration status, including cases with a provisional COVID-19 diagnosis.
  • Suspend all co-pays and sliding fee payments at community clinics for COVID-19 related services.
  • Enhance food and nutrition services to meet basic needs in these times of reduced work and income.
  • Expand of Medi-Cal eligibility to all ages regardless of immigration status beyond the current coverage through age 25 and the Governor’s proposal to cover the elderly.

Outreach, advice, and support to farmworker families

  • Support community based and promotores programs to provide outreach, education and navigation services, including transportation to health services.
  • Enhance written material in Spanish and indigenous languages as well as radio, television, and social media messaging on COVID-19.
  • Support  community health center increase in service capacity– to expand phone advice into evening and early morning hours and establish triage facilities for COVID-19.
  • Form alliances of community based organizations with local and State public health departments on COVID-19 outreach and education.

Labor and income supports

  • Provide guaranteed sick leave for farmworker and dependents, unemployment coverage, and income for displaced and cash-paid farmworkers.
  • Develop alternative mechanisms for income support for those affected by COVID-19 groups since some farmworkers are employed in the underground economy where mandated sick leave provisions cannot be rapidly enforced.

 New Report – San Luis Obispo County Oral Health Needs Assessment and Oral Health Improvement Plan, December 2018

  • Read the final report  of the strategic planning for the San Luis Obispo County Oral Health Program.

40 Prado Residential Withdrawal Management (Detox) Unit

40 Prado Detox Project Planning Project
See the report of the CAPSLO 40 Prado Detox Planning Project 

In the News
KVEC Dave Congalton Hometown Radio February 13, 2019 (Part 2). Local radio call-in show on ACA and health care. Click here for podcast.

KCBX Central Coast Voices February 7, 2019 show on oral health in San Luis Obispo County. Click here to listen.

New York Times Reports on Poverty and Malnutrition of California Farmworkers:

“The people who grow our food can’t afford to eat it, and they are sicker because of it,” said Joel Diringer, a public health specialist and advocate for farmworkers. “It’s an incredible irony that those who work in the fields all day long don’t have access to the fresh produce that they harvest.” Read the full article here.

UC Davis Western Center for Agricultural Health and Safety blog post features are recent talk by Joel Diringer on the future of health coverage for California farmworkers. A copy of the slides can be accessed here