L.A. Care Health Plan, the largest publicly operated health plan in the nation, has signed an agreement with UCLA Health to allow its 2.2 million members to received advanced and specialized care.

The downtown-based insurer announced the deal Oct. 26 to allow its Medi-Cal clients to receive care at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Westwood, and UCLA Medical Center in Santa Monica.

“We’re pleased to bring expanded access to high-quality health care to our Medi-Cal members,” said John Baackes, chief executive for L.A. Care, in a statement. “UCLA is always ranked among the top hospital systems in the country, and now our members will benefit from that expertise.”

The new contract also allows 3,500 L.A. Care clients to receive primary care from the UCLA Medical Group.

In July, L.A. Care Health Plan announced it would spend up to $31 million to recruit doctors into its network of providers who care for needy patients across Los Angeles County. That includes four full medical scholarships to UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine.

The health plan took the top spot last May in a Business Journal list of the county’s top health insurance providers, with roughly 2.2 million enrollees and companywide revenue of $8.8 billion.

Health business reporter Dana Bartholomew can be reached at dbartholomew@labusinessjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter @_DanaBart.

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