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State Edging Closer To Healthline

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California officials have taken another step toward giving residents a three-digit telephone number for referrals to health and social service agencies.

The California Public Utilities Commission voted unanimously today to adopt procedures for establishing a statewide 2-1-1 hot line similar to those already used in ten other states. Eventually, dialing that number will connect callers to a regional clearinghouse that can provide information about local non-profits that can help them. The service is free.

P.U.C. President Michael Peevey says having a unified, easy-to-remember phone number will let social service providers reach people who may be too poor, too overwhelmed or too discouraged to make several calls for help.