CEO Message

CEO Message: COVID-19 Support Tops 2021 Advocacy Agenda

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Tomorrow is the last day for California lawmakers to introduce bills during the 2021 legislative session and — despite the persistent challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic — legislation has been piling up. Already, CHA is tracking some 300 bills and is actively engaged on many of them.   

A new administration in Washington, D.C., means new and different approaches to federal health policy as well. 

Every year, your association focuses on two things: Defending hospitals and the patients you serve from threats that impede how you best care for your communities and advancing ideas that enhance the care you provide. And our advocacy agenda includes more than legislation — it’s also our efforts to advocate on behalf of hospitals with regulators, the courts, the media, the public, and more. 

This year, we have six areas of focus

  • COVID-19: Continue to respond and support through regulatory flexibility, resource needs, and financial relief — along with rebuilding a stronger, resilient health care system — based on COVID-19’s lessons 

  • Seismic: Advance a remedy to adjust the timing and scope of the $100 billion 2030 mandate 

  • Insurance reform: Speed funds to hospitals by reducing the time to pay clean claims and stop abuse that delays medical record requests 

  • Behavioral health: Call for needed investment in this “second tsunami” — the mental health and substance use challenges made even worse by COVID-19 — and secure a leadership position within the administration to develop and fund a statewide improvement plan 

  • Affordability: Create an independent entity to analyze health care affordability and make recommendations for change to policy makers while opposing efforts to set aggregate spending targets and automatic payment penalties 

  • Integration: Educate stakeholders on the value of coordinated care and oppose increased regulation of health care mergers, partnerships, and affiliations  

Other issues — workers’ compensation presumptions, paid supplemental sick leave, and health information exchange, to name a few — have already popped up and demand attention. And the political landscape is highly fluid in both Washington, D.C., and  Sacramento. 

Amid all of this, there is a silver lining to COVID-19. Consistently during the pandemic, public polling has shown how much the public and your communities support and appreciate the work you do, with record-high favorability for hospitals, across political affiliations. This is an important foundation upon which to build our advocacy work, based on the invaluable, life-saving work you have demonstrated during the crisis and continue to perform. 

~ Carmela