There’s been a flurry of movement around some bills and budget proposals in the past few weeks, at both the state and federal levels.
At its meeting last month, the CHA board gave the green light to a robust set of advocacy priorities for hospitals, so we’re prepared to address legislation with a solid educational and advocacy roadmap for the year. Our priorities stem from a commitment to two simple but fundamental goals: protect patients and communities, and build better health and a better health care system — with a focus on protecting Medicare and Medi-Cal funding, modifying seismic compliance mandates, improving behavioral health care, and expanding coverage.
While it’s early in the year and there’s much to be done on advancing our key advocacy priorities, I’d like to update you on two of them:
- Seismic compliance — Late last month the Assembly and Senate health committees held a joint informational hearing on hospital seismic compliance. Legislators heard from state engineers and emergency services providers, the Rand Corporation (which testified that the cost of compliance could be upward of $100 billion), and three hospital leaders who shared the impact of compliance on their organizations and communities. The hearing was well attended and valuable in that both committee chairs well understand the economic concerns of compliance and appreciate the complexity of providing care during and after a disaster. With the hearing behind us, the hard work of in-depth, one-on-one conversations with legislators begins.
- Office of Health Care Affordability — It’s been almost a month since Gov. Gavin Newsom released his 2020 budget, in which he called for the creation of an Office of Health Care Affordability, designed to curb the rate of cost growth in health care. To do this right, in a way that is both impactful and sustainable, there must be a thoughtful plan that includes addressing costs from all involved in the delivery of health care, including commercial insurance carriers and those responsible for hospitals’ input costs, like pharmaceutical companies. We’re working to develop a proposal that ensures two things:
- Hospitals can continue, in the most effective way possible, to meet their mission of care and quality.
- Hospitals are at the table in offering solutions to the health care affordability issue that will provide economic relief to Californians.
Stay tuned in the coming months for more on key bills and other developments. And don’t forget to check in for regular updates via our Weekly Advocacy Review in your Friday email.