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Community Advisory Committee

The Community Advisory Committee (CAC) gives Gold Coast Health Plan (GCHP) information about important issues that affect Medi-Cal members in Ventura County to further enhance the quality of the experience between the members and the Plan. The 10 voting members represent various constituencies served by the Plan. They include:

  • Beneficiaries with chronic medical conditions.
  • County Health Care Agency.
  • County Human Services Agency.
  • Foster children.
  • Medi-Cal beneficiaries.
  • Persons with disabilities.
  • Persons with special needs.
  • Seniors.

The Health Care Agency and the Human Services Agency are standing seats. With the exception of those positions, each of the appointed members serves a two-year term; however, committee members may reapply for additional terms as there are no term limits. The committee meets at least quarterly.

We are currently looking for members of our community to join the committee. If you are a beneficiary or a member of the community who is interested in joining the CAC, please submit an application (English and Spanish).

CAC Members

Rita Duarte-Weaver, Committee Chair

Ventura County Public Health Department

Rita Duarte-Weaver is the CAC committee chair. She is the daughter and caretaker of a current Gold Coast Health Plan member. For the last 17 years, Ms. Duarte-Weaver has worked for the Ventura County Public Health Department, where she serves as the community services coordinator for the Health Care for All program. Ms. Duarte-Weaver conducts regular presentations on Medi-Cal, the Ventura County Self-Discount Program and Health Care for All. She has extensive knowledge of Medi-Cal and knows how to assist Gold Coast Health Plan's members with their needs.

Ruben Juarez, Vice-Chairperson

Ventura County Health Care Agency, Whole Person Care

Ruben Juarez is the CAC vice-chairperson. Mr. Juarez is a community services worker with Ventura County’s Whole Person Care (WPC) program. The program facilitates the coordination of health, behavioral health and social services. WPC helps all patients with their goals and improvement of their overall health and well-being through more efficient and effective use of resources. In his role with WPC, Mr. Juarez supports all Medi-Cal beneficiaries identified as high users of services who continue to be in poor health. He connects members with public and private entities, providing comprehensive care and follow-up to help those who are experiencing homelessness.

Estelle Cervantes

Beneficiary Member

Estelle Cervantes is the beneficiary member serving on the CAC. Her son is also a Gold Coast Health Plan member. Ms. Cervantes has been a volunteer for the United Way Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, serves as a Conejo Valley Unified Board District Advisory Council member and is a Conejo Valley High School council member. In 2016, she was recognized by the "Latino American Who’s Who" for her achievements in advancing the culture of the Latino American business community. As a two-time cancer survivor, her goal is to be an advocate and speak out in support of women.

Norma Gomez

Mixteco / Indígena Community Organization Project

Norma Gomez has worked as an interpreter, educator, and case manager with the Mixteco / Indígena Community Organization Project (MICOP) in Oxnard since 2000. As an educator to the Mixtec community, she leads workshops and group activities to provide information on nutrition, health and parenting. Ms. Gomez also provides case management and conducts follow-up home visits with the Mixtec community and assists residents with completing applications for disability, unemployment, school, Medi-Cal, Cal-Fresh, passport applications, etc. Ms. Gomez facilitates "Aprendiendo con Mama y Papa" ("Learning with Mom and Dad") educational workshops for Mixteco and Latino migrant farm worker children.

Frisa Herrera

Casa Pacifica

Frisa Herrera has been employed at Casa Pacifica since March 1999 as both the clinic manager and Medi-Cal biller. Casa Pacifica serves abused, neglected and severely emotionally disturbed children and adolescents from the tri-county region of Southern California. Ms. Herrera has a unique understanding and familiarity with the needs of foster children and is deeply committed to serving this population. Her goal is to "be the voice for the foster community in Ventura County."

Laurie Hall Jordan

Rainbow Connection Family Resource Center

Laurie Hall Jordan works for the Rainbow Connection Family Resource Center at Tri-Counties Regional Center. She has been with Rainbow Connection for nearly 30 years providing information, training and support for children and adults with developmental disabilities and their families. Ms. Jordan serves as a community representative on the Improving State Systems subcommittee for the state Interagency Coordinating Council on Early Intervention. She is currently chairwoman of the Community Advisory Committee for the Special Education Local Plan Area. She also serves on the Behavioral Health Advisory Board Youth & Family Committee. Ms. Jordan’s son and granddaughter are Gold Coast Health Plan members.

Paula Johnson

The Arc of Ventura County

Paula Johnson is the director of clinical services at The Arc of Ventura County. She has many years of experience working with individuals and families of adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Her educational background includes a master’s degree in education and a bachelor’s degree in behavioral psychology. Ms. Johnson is a certified instructor for the Crisis Prevention Institute and American Heart Association.

Curtis Updike

Ventura County Human Services Agency

Curtis Updike currently serves as the deputy director of the Ventura County Human Services Agency (HSA), where he oversees Medi-Cal and CalFresh eligibility determination. Prior to his selection as deputy director in 2005, he served as manager of the county's East County Intake and Eligibility Center (IEC) from 2002 to 2005. The East County IEC processes intake and continuing cases in Medi-Cal and CalFresh. Before joining HSA, he served as chief of staff for former Ventura County Supervisor Kathy Long and field deputy for former Supervisor Maggie Kildee. Mr. Updike holds an associate degree in business administration, a bachelor's degree in mass communications and a master's degree in public administration.

Pablo Velez

Amigo Baby, Inc.

Pablo Velez is the CEO / President / Founder of Amigo Baby, Inc. He has a medical doctoral degree from Colombia, where he developed several county-based services. Upon moving to the U.S., he began working with special needs children, lectured in several community organizations and, in 2004, created Amigo Baby, Inc. to serve the Ventura County community. Mr. Velez brings more than 20 years of medical and special needs experience to infants and children with developmental delays.

Community Advisory Committee Calendar

CAC meetings are open to the public. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Community Advisory Committee Meetings

Quality Improvement Committee

The Quality Improvement Committee (QIC) is responsible for monitoring and evaluation of the overall effectiveness of quality improvement activities at Gold Coast Health Plan. The committee oversees the annual review, analysis and evaluation for achievement of goals of the Quality Improvement Program and the Quality Improvement Work Plan. The committee makes recommendations for implementation of interventions or corrective actions based on results of quality improvement activities. The committee also provides updates to the Ventura County Medi-Cal Managed Care Commission on a quarterly basis.

Provider Advisory Committee

The Provider Advisory Committee (PAC) reviews GCHP's policies and programs, explores relevant issues, discusses how the Plan may best fulfill its mission, and gives advice and makes recommendations to the Ventura County Medi-Cal Managed Care Commission.