by Kimberly Ueyama
As a committed healthcare professional, Teri Boughton combines her experience and dedication to seek improvements to California’s health care system. Through her position at the California HealthCare Foundation (CHCF), she works to promote awareness among policymakers so that Californians can secure the coverage they need.
“The mission of CHCF is to improve health care for Californians by providing information to help them access quality health care coverage when they need it at a price they can afford,” Boughton said.
To accomplish this goal, the organization focuses on three program areas: Improving the quality of care for Californians with chronic disease; reducing barriers to efficient, affordable health care for the underserved; and promoting greater transparency and accountability in California’s health care markets.
In the current economic climate, CHCF offers information resources for residents seeking adequate coverage.
To address the needs of the increasing number of newly unemployed Californians losing their health insurance, CHCF recently funded a small, targeted information campaign to help this group understand their health care options.
“These individuals have a limited period of time to take advantage of federal assistance and continuation coverage,” Boughton said.
As Californians find themselves losing employer-based coverage, this information becomes critical.
CHCF objectives include simplifying the process of health care attainment. It maintains active partnerships with the California government, Boughton noted, and informs the state “about ways in which health and social services enrollment systems can be modernized and integrated to make it easier for Californians to enroll in health care programs.”
Aware that many of the state’s uninsured are eligible for existing programs but are not enrolled, CHCF, in partnership with the California Endowment, supported the development of One-e-App, an online application to assist individuals applying for public services.
“Using technology to modernize bureaucratic processes will not only get more Californians covered,” Boughton noted. “It will also make the process itself more effective and efficient.”
Boughton plays a crucial role in this relationship as the senior program officer for state health policy, a position that entails serving as a liaison between state policymakers in Sacramento and the CHCF staff in Oakland. She also manages a number of grants that provide unbiased health policy analysis and information to government officials and staff.
With more than 15 years of government work experience, Boughton is a valuable asset to CHCF. In fact, it was Boughton’s previous work experiences that largely contributed to her interest in the health care field. Her professional experience as a consultant for the Health Committee in the California State Assembly, and later, her work with the California Health and Human Services Agency solidified her desire to work in the field.
It was while working at the legislature that a colleague suggested that she enroll in the Master of Health Administration (MHA) program at SPPD’s State Capital Center in Sacramento.
“For me it was exactly what I was looking for,” Boughton shared. “It provided the opportunity to study health policy and administration in an academic setting and the intensive format allowed me to maintain my full-time position with the legislature.”
The MHA program complemented Boughton’s professional expertise by establishing a basic foundation in health law, economics and management. Through SPPD, she established contacts with practitioners that she has maintained to this day.
Currently, Boughton is involved in CHCF’s work with the California Department of Social Services “to identify information that can be made available over the Internet to help people choose assisted living arrangement for themselves, or for their friends and family.”
The Web site – www.calqualitycare.org – provides quality ratings for nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. By promoting transparency among these centers, CHCF hopes to encourage performance improvements among these facilities while providing Californians with a comprehensive way to find and evaluate them.
It is through innovations like these that CHCF aims to positively impact the health care field and the lives of thousands of Californians.