CHA News

HCAI Provides Updates on Vulnerable Populations for Hospital Community Benefits Plans 

For CFOs, community benefit managers, government relations executives

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Per a recent update from the Department of Health Care Access and Information (HCAI), hospitals should begin consulting with community groups to identify community needs in the new “vulnerable populations” definition categories during their Community Health Needs Assessments.  

HCAI reports that it is beginning its rulemaking process to implement the community benefits-related statute in Assembly Bill 1204 (Chapter 751, Statutes of 2021), which added new groups to the definition of “vulnerable populations” for community benefits planning purposes.  

Existing law established under Senate Bill 697 (Chapter 812, Statutes of 1994) defines “vulnerable populations” for these purposes to mean a population that is exposed to medical or financial risk by virtue of being uninsured, underinsured, or eligible for Medi-Cal, Medicare, California Children’s Services Program, or county indigent programs. This bill added racial and ethnic groups experiencing disparate health outcomes and socially disadvantaged groups to the definition.  

Questions can be directed to Trina Gonzalez at