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CenCal Health Ranks High on List of Best Places to Work on Central Coast

May 26, 2020

For Two Consecutive Years, Local Health Plan at Top of Employee Survey

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – May 26, 2020 – CenCal Health, the local Medi-Cal health plan for Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties, ranked second in the Central Coast Best Places to Work list produced annually by Pacific Coast Business Times. Determined by an employee survey and other criteria developed by the business weekly, the full list for 2020 was published Friday. Montecito Bank & Trust placed first on this year’s list – the same spot that CenCal Health held in 2019. Pacific Coast Business Times plans to honor all the Best Places to Work designees at an event scheduled for later this year.

Founded in Santa Barbara over 37 years ago, CenCal Health is a public entity that employs close to 250 people at offices in Santa Barbara and Goleta, as well as those who work remotely. The agency also contributes approximately $50 million a month into the local economy, primarily through payments to healthcare providers who serve its members. Employee positions include medical physicians and nurses, case managers, IT analysts, member and provider services representatives, as well as claims representatives, to name a few.


“To be a high-quality organization, you have to demand a lot of your employees,” said CenCal Health CEO Bob Freeman.  “Excellence is earned, not given. Therefore, CenCal Health and its Human Resources Department make a great effort to provide employees with recognition, appreciation, opportunities to grow, and a sense of belonging and accomplishment. It’s a source of immense pride that our employees have voted us this honor.”

The regional health plan partners with over 1,500 local physicians and other providers to deliver quality patient care to nearly 180,000 men, women and children enrolled in Medi-Cal – approximately 1 in 4 residents of Santa Barbara County and 1 in 5 residents of San Luis Obispo County. CenCal Health also collaborates with community-based organizations to address social determinants of health while increasing members’ access to medical care and reducing costs.

In April of this year, CenCal Health moved quickly to secure over $250,000 worth of Personal Protective Equipment or PPE, to distribute to its network of hospitals, physicians and clinics on the frontlines of the COVID-19 health crisis. “COVID-19 has definitely changed the way we are all working, but we continue to serve our members and the community with positive attitudes and compassion,” said CenCal Health Human Resources Director Karyn Fish.  “It is extremely humbling and gratifying that, for the second year in a row, CenCal Health has been recognized as one of the best places to work on the Central Coast. This recognition helps us recruit and retain the top talent so we can continue to be one of California’s top Medi-Cal health plans.”

CenCal Health’s response to the current pandemic includes a webpage containing member-focused questions and answers. Anyone from the general public can access this information, which is available in English and Spanish at The content includes guidance related to COVID-19 concerns such as who is at greatest risk for serious illness, how to best protect one’s self, who to call should a member have symptoms, links to updated information from reliable sources and more.

The plan has reported increasing local enrollment in reaction to the tremendous job loss being experienced, with the accompanying loss of health insurance. “We’re working to reach out to those needing coverage,” said Freeman. “Many of the expected newly-eligible may have never heard of Medi-Cal, or never thought they’d qualify.”

There are multiple ways to apply for Medi-Cal coverage including online at, and through CenCal Health’s website offers additional information on how to apply at CenCal Health does not determine Medi-Cal eligibility; eligibility and enrollment is determined by the applicant’s local Department of Social Services.

About CenCal Health
CenCal Health is a community-accountable health plan that partners with over 1,500 local physicians, hospitals and other providers in delivering patient care to nearly 180,000 members – about one in four residents of Santa Barbara County and one in five residents of San Luis Obispo County. A public agency, the health plan contributes approximately $50 million a month into the local economy, primarily through payments to healthcare providers who serve its membership. Established in 1983, it is the oldest managed care Medicaid plan of its kind in the nation.

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CenCal Health Contact:
Nicolette Worley Marselian (805) 685-9525 ext.1993
Media Contact: Sheri Mobley (213) 509-9816

Photo Caption: The Ambassador Program – an employee-driven community outreach initiative – supports CenCal Health’s commitment to the local community. Customer service agents, managers, health educators, provider services representatives, and other staff volunteer to undergo training and then participate in representing the organization at local events.