San Diego County Programs Win State Honors

A San Diego County program that helps safeguard vulnerable adults in dependent care has received the California Counties Innovation Award, the highest honor given in the California State Association of Counties’ annual awards.

San Diego County led all other counties in the 2015 CSAC Awards, taking seven awards in all. In addition to the Innovation Award, two programs were selected for Challenge Awards and four others for Merit Awards.

“We are so proud that so many San Diego County departments were recognized for administering seven innovative, effective and cost-cutting programs to benefit county residents,” said Chairman Bill Horn, San Diego County Board of Supervisors.

The awards spotlight creative programs demonstrating leadership and results that provide better service to residents and save time and money whenever possible. Overall, 18 counties were selected as recipients for 42 awards from 250 entries, which were evaluated by an independent panel of judges.

For the Innovation Award, the County Health and Human Services Agency developed and managed protocols for protecting acutely vulnerable adults. These adults typically have severe cognitive or communication deficits that can prevent them from protecting themselves from maltreatment and are highly dependent upon someone, often a family member, who has been assessed as being high risk for perpetrating abuse. As a result, the County does more frequent monitoring and is more involved in these cases. Since being implemented in October 2014, the safety statuses of clients have largely been stable or better.

The two San Diego County Challenge Award winners were:

  • The Sheriff’s Veterans Moving Forward program is a tailored rehabilitation and treatment program for incarcerated veterans that has reduced recidivism by linking participants with community programs and re-entry assistance programs upon their release. In the first year of the program, 77 inmates were successfully returned to the community from the program, and not one returned to custody on a new charge. That’s compared to an expected return-to-jail rate of about 20-45 percent, according to local and state averages one year after release from jail or prison.
  • The Utilizing Medi-Cal Expansion to Increase Healthcare Access program was spearheaded by Health and Human Services Agency and Public Safety departments to embed Medi-Cal eligibility workers in jails and probation re-entry facilities to process inmates’ applications so that they could receive medical and mental health services upon their release. Over 1,800 individuals are currently active in Medi-Cal through this effort and the County has estimated significant savings.

The other four San Diego County programs to receive Merit Awards include:

  • The Online Appointment System for Immunizations is a Health and Human Services Agency program that established an innovative, online and bilingual appointment system for one of its public health centers in 2013. The new system is easy to use and has increased access to vaccinations. In 2014, the County expanded it to two more public health centers. The system showed a significant reduction in wait time for customers. During periods of high demand where the walk-in customer wait time could be over an hour, the online appointment customers received their vaccinations in less than six minutes.
  • The Planning and Development Services Template Permits program streamlined the process for minor permits and eliminated repetitive data entry by developing template records for the most common permit types. These templates pre-fill much of the permit data, which has resulted in substantial savings in transaction times during the processing of permits.
  • The Protecting Public Health by Getting the Word Out involved the Department of Environmental Health’s launch of a mobile web application for, where anyone can get the most recent water quality information for San Diego County beaches and bays at any time, on their smartphones, tablets or computers. The app was created specifically to allow people to get information on-the-go, even when they’re at beaches or away from home. The app’s at-a-glance information is available in different formats, including lists and an interactive mapping feature, that identify potentially unhealthy water quality and areas that are more susceptible to poor water quality because of nearby surface water runoff sources.
  • Real-Time Invasive Pest Mapping is an Agriculture Weights and Measures program that implements real-time pest mapping using a mobile app for County pest collectors. The increased efficiency in map development allows the County to track invasive pests more accurately and quickly disseminate information about the infestation. It also allows the County to quickly communicate the extent of the spread of a pest and therefore make better decisions on limiting or eradicating pests. The system has improved the County’s contribution to regional pest management.






Yvette Urrea Moe is a communications specialist with the County of San Diego Communications Office. Contact