On Monday, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced its intent to withdraw a proposal that would have cut total Medicaid funding by as much as $49 billion annually (8% of the program).
Earlier this week, Governor Newsom shared some encouraging news about California’s COVID-19 positivity rate, which dropped by 2 percentage points, to 4%, over the past 14 days compared to the two weeks prior.
We’re moving in the right direction, but we would be remiss to think we’ve truly turned the corner on this pandemic. Rather, this progress means we must be even more vigilant, to guard against a premature resumption of activities that could set us back months.
California’s 120 state assemblymembers and senators, like the rest of us, have been grappling with the new reality that COVID-19 has wrought. For the legislators and those who seek to influence them, it meant doing business very differently as they were pressed for time and consensus-building. It also meant a unique focus on taking action to mitigate COVID-19’s impact on Californians.
“In war, you win or lose, live or die – and the difference is just an eyelash.” – Douglas MacArthur
Technically, there are 11 days left in California’s 2020 legislative session, though if you account for the rule that says bills must be in print for 72 hours, it’s really slightly over a week.
Through all of it – COVID-19, work/home adjustments, a brief sense of hope in June that this would be short-lived – the 2020 legislative session has slogged on. Now, there are just a couple of weeks left, and two of the most important issues for California’s hospitals remain in play:
In the midst of COVID-19, the legislative session moves on. This has been a significant week for bills important to hospitals in California’s Legislature, as several continued or completed their political journey.
First, the bad news:
Last week, and again this week, the federal government changed its process and requirements to submit hospital data related to COVID-19, now taking in all information via the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services rather than the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Seven months into the year, and despite the many challenges and triumphs of California’s hospitals during the COVID-19 pandemic, seismic regulatory reform remains a priority.
The 2030 deadline for full compliance with seismic building regulations remains in place, a requirement that comes with a more than $100 billion price tag at a time when hospitals are facing unprecedented and uncertain financial times.
“On the death of a friend, we should consider that the fates through confidence have devolved on us the task of a double living, that we have henceforth to fulfill the promise of our friend’s life also, in our own, to the world.” — Henry David Thoreau
On Monday, Duane Dauner, who led CHA for 33 years until his retirement in 2017, died in a car accident near his home in Palm Desert.
This is a blow to all who knew him, all who worked with him, and to all who value better health care in California.
At San Quentin State Prison, about one-third of the 3,500 inmates have been diagnosed positive with COVID-19. In Los Angeles, county officials are sounding the alarm that they may run out of hospital beds in a matter of weeks. In Riverside, ICU beds are at capacity, and nurses are striking.
Statewide, California is fast becoming a national hotspot, as COVID-19 positive tests are now topping 6,000 per day. And it remains to be seen how gatherings held over the Fourth of July weekend might drive up the number of cases even further.