Association News

In the Spotlight: Ana Reza

HASC’s Patient Access Services department, or PAS for short, has long focused on helping hospitals access publicly-provided services. Since 1994, Orange County-based Ana Reza has directed the effort.

Reza, who holds master’s and bachelor’s degrees in gerontology, divides her time between three main programs that help facilities expand services to vulnerable populations. Each individual program also helps hospitals access available reimbursement solutions.

Conservatorship Access Network, or CAN, offers comprehensive probate conservatorship evaluation for Los Angeles County patients who can no longer care for themselves upon discharge.  

Eligibility On Site, or EOS, assists facilities in enrolling patients-in-need for Medi-Cal benefits.  

Finally, Reza is proud to note that the Bridges Maternal Child Health Network early outreach program is one of HASC’s first efforts aimed at social determinants of health. The program is funded by First 5 Orange County, Children and Families Commission.

Click here or below for an audio podcast supplement to the text interview.

An audio podcast supplement to the text interview is available here.

This week’s interview is part of In the Spotlight — a HASC series profiling people connected to the association pursuing innovative, impactful work in their communities.

HASC’s Patient Access Services programs aim to help private hospitals access publicly available services. As you mentioned in our conversation, the effort predates your tenure at HASC — in fact going back to the early ’80s. Tell us the story. 

Eligibility On Site was, according to legend at least, designed on a cocktail napkin in 1980 by former HASC staffer Cathy Winans and a county social service employee. What EOS did was revolutionary — it brought the Medi-Cal application process inside the hospital facility. Its goal was to deliver improved Medi-Cal access to uninsured patients while they were hospitalized. Embedding Medi-Cal eligibility workers in hospitals was the beginning of HASC’s Patient Access Services department — which continues to provide public social service programs inside hospital settings.

In 2000, the Bridges Maternal Child Health Network continued the PAS innovation tradition as HASC’s first effort to directly tackle social determinants of health. Tell us more about the program and what it’s accomplished over its lifespan.

The Bridges Maternal Child Health Network (BMCHN) is a multi-disciplinary team of providers throughout Orange County dedicated to improving the health and well-being of pregnant women and young children. It provides a continuum of prenatal, infant and toddler home visiting services to enhance maternal child health.

Over the past decade the program has implemented new screening, referral, and authorization processes for mothers and newborns with identified risk. Since 2010, participating hospitals screened vulnerable mothers post-delivery, resulting in high-risk mothers being referred to network partners for home visiting services. In addition, community linkages were made for parenting resources and other identified needs.

In 2016, grant funding from the Kay Family Foundation was awarded to faculty from Chapman University in partnership with HASC and First 5 Orange County for a data analytics project resulting in implementation of the new hospital prescreening algorithm, which increased accuracy. The revised system increased the hospital referral rate of high-risk mothers to network partners from 11 percent to 37 percent.

In 2018, BMCHN hospitals, in partnership with Children’s Data Network (CDN) out of USC and First 5 O.C., participated in a child protection outcomes and birth records project. The purpose of this project was to support the early identification of at-risk children and examine whether available services reach mothers and infants at high risk of a later adverse outcomes later — like maltreatment. Results showed that the bedside screening correctly identified mothers and babies at risk for future CPS involvement.

Most recently, the BMCHN hospitals began countywide coordination efforts to support maternal mental health screenings and increase access to services for treatment. They also continued their partnership with CDN, extending their project to promote equity when using algorithmic, risk-stratification approaches for identifying families with newborns in need of home visiting services. 

Launched in Los Angeles County in the mid 1990s, Conservatorship Access Network is HASC’s second-longest-running Patient Access Services program. How does it work and what does it address?

Since 1993, the Los Angeles-based Conservatorship Access Network has brought timely probate conservatorship evaluation and appointments to families who need it. Probate conservatorship allows for the conservator (the L.A. Office of Public Guardian) to provide for the temporary care, protection, and support of the conservatee — when he or she is no longer able to handle his or her financial or personal affairs. Conservatees are often older adults with limitations caused by aging. As the population ages, an increased number of older adults will require assistance, and the CAN program will continue to support these hospitals’ probate conservatorship needs.

Years following Orange County’s launch of web-based enrollment, the Eligibility on Site in Los Angeles County is also migrating to the county’s web based Medi-Cal application portal. What prompted this change? 

As with Orange County’s social services agency, for Los Angeles County it was also about efficiently utilizing staff and resources. And the pandemic definitely expedited the transition. As a result of COVID-19, L.A. County’s social services department worked with HASC Patient Access Services to develop a program that would encompass HASC as a community business organization that would assist participating hospitals.

Once the terms, scope of work, and process was developed, L.A. County and HASC began the agreement process. Program design, curriculum development, training and launch followed.

I’m proud to report that the first group of hospitals came onboard this past April 28. The new hospital users have shared positive feedback, calling the platform user-friendly, and reporting a streamlined application process and reduction in staff workload and time.

Anything else you’d like to share about HASC Patient Access Services?

HASC’s Patient Access Services (PAS) team is always eager to learn from our members regarding challenges, best practices and opportunities in the patient access, registration and business office environments.

Current PAS programs are a direct reflection of our members working with us to forge solutions to challenges — and we appreciate them trusting us to efficiently manage the programs.

Contact Adam Blackstone with comments or ideas for future In the Spotlight interviews.