Espinola, 62, a
While Covered California, the state health exchange, got a lot of headlines and enrolled 14,530 people in
"It's our largest program," said Espinola. "Obviously a strong need."
County residents with
The cost of providing health insurance is a challenge for small businesses, which predominate in
"The way we've been able to do that is through technology ... ways to do the work more efficiently," she said.
One example is the smartboards installed three years ago that enable county staff to join discussions without spending time on the road driving to a meeting site.
"We all know the traffic woes," Espinola said.
Another example is technology from ContractPal that allows an application for CalFresh food stamps to be completed with a signature over the phone, speeding up the process.
Espinola expects the biggest challenge for her successor will be implementing a new approach to foster care
This will mean turning long-term group homes into places where youths removed from parental custody get short-term therapy for up to six months, then come home to be cared for by relatives or foster parents needing support to deal with the child's nightmares, acting out and depression resulting from what they have experienced.
"They've suffered trauma," Espinola observed.
The county began recruiting Espinola's successor in September. The job pays
"It's a rewarding position," said Espinola, the county's most senior department chief. "It's never been dull. It's always challenging."
She has two daughters, Alexandra, 26, a second-year medical student at
"He comes home on weekends," Espinola said.
As for her post-retirement plans, she expect to get outside more, hike and play tennis "and enjoy this beautiful area."
(c)2016 the Santa Cruz Sentinel (Scotts Valley, Calif.)
Visit the Santa Cruz Sentinel (Scotts Valley, Calif.) at www.santacruzsentinel.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.