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Stakeholder Meeting on Radiology Regulations to Be Held Next Week

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The California Department of Public Health will hold a meeting Sept. 10 at 2 p.m. (PT) to gather stakeholder suggestions for updating hospital regulations related to radiology and interventional radiology service. Details for attending the meeting in person or via WebEx are available in All Facilities Letter 19-29; a discussion guide for the meeting is also available.

Governor Signs Bill Clarifying Deadline for Anti-Harassment Training

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A bill extending the deadline for providing sexual harassment prevention training to Dec. 31, 2020 — Senate Bill (SB) 778 (Committee on Labor, Public Employment and Retirement) — was signed into law by the Governor last week. The new law also allows employers who have provided anti-harassment training to either supervisory or non-supervisory employees between Jan. 1, 2019, and Dec. 31, 2020, to maintain their existing bi-annual training schedule.

Results of Annual National Drug Use and Health Survey Available

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The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Agency has released results of its annual National Survey on Drug Use Health, summarizing many factors related to substance use nationally, including initiation of substance use, perceived risk, substance use disorders, associated mental illness, and substance use treatment. An overview of the study and detailed tables are also available.

CHA Issues Summary of FFY 2020 Inpatient Psychiatric Facility PPS Final Rule

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CHA has issued a summary, prepared by DataGen, Inc., of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) final rule addressing rate updates and policy changes to the Medicare inpatient psychiatric facilities prospective payment system for federal fiscal year (FFY) 2020.

Updates for the Week of Aug. 26

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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has released the following information:

New Documentation Requirements for Filing Medicare Cost Reports
Special Open Door Forum: Developing a Hospice Outcomes & Patient Evaluation (HOPE) Tool
CASPER Quality Measure Reports Fact Sheet
SNF Provider Preview Reports Now Available; Review by Sept. 16
Home Health Patient-Driven Groupings Model — Revised and Additional Manual Instructions

Protecting Patients by Protecting Health Care Professionals

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One of the hottest bills in the Legislature right now is a proposal that would codify the precedent set by a California Supreme Court decision (the Dynamex decision), effectively prohibiting independent contractor status and requiring individuals to be employed instead. The struggle over Assembly Bill 5 (Gonzalez, D-San Diego) has been framed publicly as largely a contest between technology companies, like Uber and Lyft, and labor unions.

But there’s more to it than that. AB 5 and the Dynamex decision would deny thousands of health care professionals — including nurse practitioners, social workers, certified nurse anesthetists, and others — the choice to decide how and when they work. If that happens, their ability to serve patients when and how they’re needed would be impaired.

Likewise, hospitals would lose critical flexibility to respond to patients’ needs, and to solve complex workforce issues. Outside hospitals and within our communities, access to specialty care could also be diminished, as occupational and physical therapy, home health services, and some mental health services are often provided by independent contractors.

Our message to legislators has been that eliminating employment choice for health care professionals threatens access to care. Recognizing the impact of fresh voices in Sacramento, CHA has drawn on a set of new advocacy strategies:

A full-court press “lobby day,” where nearly 60 health care professionals whose jobs would be affected met with 30 different lawmakers’ offices
A letter-writing campaign for professionals affected by the bill, asking their legislators to support an amendment
An opinion editorial in a Sacramento-based publication widely read at the State Capitol

Heading into Labor Day weekend, we are grateful for the entire hospital workforce in California — the 97% who are traditionally employed, and the 3% who choose to be independent contractors. We stand as their advocates for policies that allow them to continue to provide incredible care to their communities.

Stay tuned, as the battle over AB 5 is likely to last through the end of session in mid-September. We may yet call on you to join us in urging state lawmakers to protect the way health care is delivered in California.

— Carmela

CHA Files Declaration Supporting State Legal Action to Oppose New Public Charge Rule

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CHA President & CEO Carmela Coyle this week filed a declaration supporting a federal court lawsuit brought by the state of California and others challenging the federal government’s recent expansion of the public charge rule — regulatory changes that will dramatically increase the number of immigrants denied admission to the U.S. The declaration explains that the changes will impair access to care, affect health outcomes for entire families, and lead to a significant loss of health insurance coverage throughout the state.

CHA DataSuite Releases Analysis of Inpatient Prospective Payment System FFY 2020 Final Rule

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CHA has provided member hospitals and health systems with hospital-specific CHA DataSuite analyses showing how Medicare inpatient fee-for-service (FFS) payments will change from federal fiscal year (FFY) 2019 to 2020 based on policies in the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) FFY 2020 inpatient prospective payment system (IPPS) final rule.

New Report Examines Increasing Primary Care Capacity

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Based on findings from a survey and focus groups of educators, nurses, and employers, a newly released report offers evidence-based recommendations to help educational institutions prepare registered nurses for the future of primary care.