Urge Legislature to Reject Misguided Community Benefits Proposal

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Action needed: 

Write to the Senate Budget Committee and the Assembly Budget Committee and ask them to reject the governor’s budget proposal that would require hospitals to specify, assign, and spend a specified percentage of their community benefits dollars through community-based organizations. CHA has developed a template letter and key messages about the proposal for your use. Please send your letters to Emily Schroeder at [email protected].

Timing:

Please send your letters by May 13.

Background:

California’s nonprofit hospitals are already committed to improving the health and well-being of the communities they serve and play a key role in addressing their needs through community benefits programs. But the governor’s budget proposal would require hospitals to spend 25% of their community benefits dollars through community-based organizations that address social determinants of health and advance health equity. Under this proposal, hospitals would also need to include, as part of their community benefits implementation plan, measurable objectives that outline equity benchmarks and efforts to promote equity and reduce disparities. Setting a specific percentage for any type of activity not only predetermines how hospitals can spend their community benefits dollars but undermines the community health needs assessment process that engages community members to identify and prioritize each community’s health needs.

In addition, this proposal would result in the likely elimination of funding for community-identified health care-related activities such as primary and specialty care, behavioral health services, health screenings, and provider education and training programs. Requiring hospitals to use their community benefits dollars on certain activities would leave no room to tailor their funding to a community’s identified priorities, which could be interrupted if the state moves forward with this proposal.