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2022 Priorities — Disaster Preparedness Modernization and Health Equity — Begin to Take Shape

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It’s been two months since California’s Legislature convened to kick off the 2022 session, and CHA has worked diligently to ensure the top priorities for California hospitals are at the forefront for legislators and the governor’s office. 

One is a proposal to deliver more equitable funding for health care resources to communities that are highly reliant on Medi-Cal for health coverage. This proposal would bring hundreds of millions of dollars annually to care for Medi-Cal patients, of which two-thirds are non-white and who face unequal health outcomes due to structural inequities in the care delivery system. In addition to updating Medi-Cal rates that have been frozen since 2012-13, the proposal would also add new, annual payment adjustments to mitigate the social and environmental challenges patients may be experiencing. 

Another proposal would modernize California’s hospital disaster preparedness plans, drawing on the lessons of the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure that every hospital building can withstand a major earthquake — all while providing comprehensive safety measures to protect patients and health care workers alike as essential emergency care services remain available to any community struck by an earthquake or other disaster. 

In early support of these proposals, to ensure that policymakers understand the invaluable, lifesaving response of California’s hospitals during the COVID-19 crisis as well as the more than $16 billion in losses that hospitals have endured in 2020 and 2021, CHA has launched a digital advertising campaign. The campaign — which will run for several months and features display ads and videos — can be seen on Facebook/Instagram, the Sacramento Bee website, Capitol Morning Report, and targeted news and political sites. 

Over the long term, these proposals are designed to do two things. 

The first is to deliver to hospitals the vital resources they need to rebuild a health care system that has been shattered in every way by COVID-19. From a decimated workforce to the fact that 45% of California’s hospitals are now operating in the red, health care in California is on life support and needs immediate intervention.  

The second is to ensure that the loss and pain caused by COVID-19 is not for naught. The lessons of the pandemic — that care can be delivered more effectively and efficiently in a variety of settings, that people of color continue to face deep challenges and disparate health care outcomes — must be first learned and second acted upon, so California’s future health care system can deliver on its longstanding promise: To care for all, in every way.