Gold Coast Health Plan Celebrates Appointment of Laura Espinosa as First-Ever Latina Chair of the Ventura County Medi-Cal Managed Care Commission

Laura Espinosa Gold Coast Health Plan
Former board chair transitions to role of vice chair; two new members join the Commission

CAMARILLO, Calif. - IndianaStop -- Gold Coast Health Plan (GCHP) is pleased to announce the appointment of Laura Espinosa as the first-ever Latina chairperson of the Ventura County Medi-Cal Managed Care Commission (VCMMCC) and the first Consumer Representative to serve in that role. She succeeds Dee Pupa, who transitions to the role of vice chairperson in continuation of the service she has provided to GCHP over the course of a decade. As a public entity serving Medi-Cal members in Ventura County, GCHP is governed by the VCMMCC, which supports the organization's commitment to connect members with high quality care and services.

"We applaud Laura for her longstanding dedication to health care advocacy in Ventura County and celebrate this milestone as she becomes the first Latina to hold this esteemed position as chair of the Commission," said GCHP Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Nick Ligouri. "With deep roots in Santa Paula and the Santa Clara Valley at large, Laura embodies the vital voice of our community. Her dedication to the community and understanding of the health care needs of our members make her an invaluable asset to the Commission, especially as we continue to evolve in an ever-changing health care landscape."

With a Juris Doctorate from Ventura College of Law, Ms. Espinosa has committed decades to numerous community service endeavors. She is a founding member and current president of Santa Paula Latino Town Hall and has served on the boards of local community-based organizations, committees, and health care providers. She was the first Latina ever elected to a city council in Ventura County, serving two terms on the Santa Paula City Council. Her dedication to advocating for health care for underserved populations reached new heights when she was first appointed to the VCMMCC by the Ventura County Board of Supervisors in 2017.

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"Every GCHP member deserves the highest quality care and access in order to have the best health care outcomes," said VCMMCC Chair Espinosa. "Quality health care, education, and economic development are keys to a healthy, thriving community, and I am honored to lead GCHP in advancing these efforts. The honor aligns with my philosophy of social justice and ensuring all people's civil and human rights. Over the next three years, the strategies developed at Gold Coast Health Plan will transform health care as we now know it, which will lead to increased health equity, reducing health disparities, and planned economic investments for local providers and member supports."

VCMMCC Vice Chair Pupa, who is the deputy director of managed care for the County of Ventura, has served GCHP with distinction over the course of a decade and was on the team that pursued regulatory approval for GCHP's creation in 2011. Ms. Pupa served as Commission chair for four years, during which the Commission and GCHP led large-scale investments in the organization to modernize systems and expand access to members, including a $75 million provider incentive and grant program that is helping bridge gaps in health care equity and access, and drive improvements in health care for the community.

"As we embark on this transformative journey to redefine health care excellence, I am grateful to Dee for her dedication and leadership in support in of our vision," Liguori said. "Together, we will continue to innovate, collaborate, and drive positive change for the well-being of all those we serve."

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The VCMMCC also welcomed two new members. Tabin Cosio, interim Human Resources (HR) director of the County of Ventura, joined the board in April to fill the seat vacated by Shawn Atin due to his retirement as county HR director. Phil Buttell, CEO of Los Robles Hospital in Thousand Oaks, was sworn in May 20. He succeeds Jennifer Swenson, CEO of Adventist Health Simi Valley.

"It is with great enthusiasm that we welcome our new members to the Commission," Liguori said. "Their diverse expertise and unwavering commitment to excellence will undoubtedly fortify our journey towards delivering high quality care to our members, ensuring their well-being remains at the forefront of all we do. With their invaluable contributions, we are poised to achieve even greater heights in our mission to drive lasting changes to our health care system."

About Gold Coast Health Plan

Gold Coast Health Plan proudly serves nearly 250,000 Medi-Cal beneficiaries in Ventura County through its network of primary care physicians, specialists, behavioral health providers, and hospitals. Since it was founded in 2011, Gold Coast Health Plan has been committed to providing access to high-quality care and improving the health of its members, which include 1 in 3 county residents, 1 in 6 seniors, and 1 in 2 children up to the age of 5. To learn more, visit:

Susana Enriquez-Euyoque

Source: Gold Coast Health Plan

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