Fond Farewells, Warm Welcomes and CHA’s New Oakland Office

Clare Smith, our former CEO/President, had her final day with California Health Advocates last December. She is continuing to consult with CHA on executive management issues for the next several months. Since 1999, Clare has been the leadership, passion, dedication and vision that has built CHA into the state and nationally recognized organization it is, producing quality advocacy, education and services for California’s Medicare beneficiaries and advocates. Thank you, Clare. We will miss you and are grateful for your years of great service, humor, and…You.

We are pleased to have our Staff Attorney, David Lipschutz, serve as CHA’s Interim CEO/President. Welcome, David.


We also extend a warm welcome to Elaine Wong Eakin, our new fulltime Project Manager. Based in Oakland, Elaine, among many responsibilities, serves as CHA’s primary trainer and liaison with the Health Insurance Counseling & Advocacy Programs (HICAPs), California Department of Aging (CDA), California Association of Area Agencies on Aging (C4A) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS); provides assistance and oversight with the California Medicare Coalition meetings and events; and updates and creates educational training materials and publications.

With a background in law, having graduated from Pace Law School and passed the New York State Bar, Elaine recently worked with the San Francisco HICAP as the Medicare Outreach Specialist, and in July 2007 as SF HICAP’s Program Manager. We are thrilled to have Elaine as a member of our CHA team and invite you to join us in extending our heart-felt welcome.

Elaine can be reached at:
464 7th St., Oakland, CA 94607
Phone 510-268-8030
Fax 510-927-2599

CHA strategically places its Bay Area office

We strategically chose opening a new Bay Area office for Elaine’s position for several reasons. First, the San Francisco Bay Area represents nine large counties — San Francisco, Alameda, Santa Clara, Contra Costa, Marin, San Mateo, Sonoma, Santa Cruz and Solano — of which the 60-69 age group will be the second largest behind people 20-29 years old in the next 15 years, according to a recent planning report. The Bay Area’s 60 years and older population is expected to increase by 100 percent to 200 percent between 1990 and 2020. Residents are older on average in the Bay Area, especially in San Francisco and Marin County, than in other parts of the country (Association of Bay Area Government (ABAG) report dated December 14, 2006).

Second, according to the California Department of Aging (CDA) the oldest old- those 85 years old and older will increase at even a faster rate than the elderly, having an overall increase of 143 percent during the period from 1990 to 2020. Eleven of the state’s 58 counties will have over a 300 percent increase in the number of persons aged 85 and older; and all but one of these counties are located in the central and northern areas of the State. In addition, the 60 years and older set is expected to increase by 100% to 200% in the Bay Area region during the same period of time. See their maps.

Third, many, if not most, of our key stakeholders, partners and funders are located in the Bay Area. Some of these include:

  • Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)
  • The California HealthCare Foundation
  • The California Wellness Foundation
  • The California Endowment
  • National Senior Citizen’s Law Center
  • The Public Health Institute/Medicine for People in Need
  • Senior Action Network
  • Administration on Aging
  • Lumetra (CMS contractor)
  • Health Consumer Alliance/ Legal Services agencies
  • Family Caregiver Alliance
  • UC San Francisco-School of Pharmacy/UC Berkeley
  • Project Inform (HIV/AIDS project)
  • World Institute on Disability (WID)
  • California Alliance for Retired Americans

In addition, the majority of our California Medicare Coalition members are representatives of agencies located in the Bay Area or are individuals who reside in the Bay Area.

Our new Oakland office is housed with Legal Assistance for Seniors and the Alameda County Health Insurance Counseling & Advocacy Program (LAS/HICAP). For a list of our other offices in Sacramento, Los Angeles, Santa Ana, and Scotts Valley, visit our Contact Us page.

Karen Joy Fletcher

Our blogger Karen Joy Fletcher is CHA’s Communications Director. With a Masters in Public Health from UC Berkeley, she is the online “public face” of the organization, provides technical expertise, writing and research on Medicare and other health care issues. She is responsible for digital content creation, management of CHA’s editorial calendar, and managing all aspects of CHA’s social media presence. She loves being a “communicator” and enjoys networking and collaborating with the passionate people and agencies in the health advocacy field. See her current articles.