Fresno County Approves Temporary Health Care Program For Undocumented

Apr 7, 2015

Health advocates are celebrating today as Fresno County Board of Supervisors approved a temporary health care program for undocumented residents.

The board voted 3-2 to implement a short-term program to provide limited specialty care for unauthorized immigrants.  

Advocates and community members celebrate Tuesday's board of supervisor's decision.
Credit Diana Aguilera / Valley Public Radio

Activist Sandra Celedon-Castro is with Building Healthy Communities.

“It’s really definitely a win that was only made possible by the hundreds of residents that have shared their voices, that have advocated for their neighbors and for the very people that are now going to have access to health care again.”

Tuesday’s move comes months after the county voted to exclude undocumented people from accessing the Medically Indigent Services Program or MISP, a safety net program that had provided immigrants care for decades.

While local advocates applaud the board’s recent decision, Celedon-Castro says it’s not the end of the conversation.

“We’re definitely glad we have the program for the next year however we recognize that a long term solution needs to be in place,” she says.

The new program will use $5.5 million from state funding to fund the coverage. Since supervisors agreed on this deal, the county will now have extra time to pay off the bill that it owed to the state’s road fund.

The temporary specialty care program is scheduled to take effect April 20. It will continue until the money runs out.