If California’s legislative session — which runs from January through the end of September — can be looked at as a nine-inning baseball game, we’re just weeks away from the middle three innings. That means legislative priorities are coming into sharper focus and strategy is beginning to turn to tactics.
A few key upcoming dates worth noting:
- April 29 – The last day for policy committees to advance legislation from house of origin
- Week of May 9 – Governor’s May revise on the budget is released
- May 27 – Last day for a bill to advance out of its house of origin
- June 15 – Deadline for the budget to be passed
- July 1 – Last day for all policy committees to advance legislation
- Aug. 25 – Last day for bills to be amended
- Aug. 31 – Last day for each house to pass bills
Within this timeline, there is a whirlwind of activity on all the priorities for California’s hospitals — direct advocacy with legislators, policy refinements and negotiations, stakeholder engagement, mass communications and advertising, data analytics to support directional shifts in law and regulation. A quick status check on some of the biggest issues we’re working on:
- Disaster readiness modernization – Advocacy and policy efforts are at full steam to reform the 2030 seismic standards, not only to allow for the most effective and efficient use of hospital resources, but also to prevent hospitals from shuttering entirely, closing off care to whole communities.
- Medi-Cal equity – The proposal to correct the structural inequity in Medi-Cal funding that creates barriers for California’s most vulnerable people to access quality care has been introduced and will be in the mix during budget conversations. This proposal would update rates following a decade-old freeze, add an annual payment adjustment for social and environmental challenges, and convert reimbursement to a value-based system with general fund support. We will never end health inequity if the hospitals serving the most vulnerable communities are reimbursed far less than others. (The path forward on this will come into greater clarity heading into early May, as budget negotiations begin in earnest.)
- Workforce – Included in the governor’s initial budget proposal, on CHA’s recommendation, is nearly $2 billion in workforce training and support to bolster depleted ranks. Vigilance is required throughout the budget process to ensure that these vital funds are protected.
- Other priorities – Bills related to partnerships (consolidation), workers’ compensation, “white-bagging” (arrangements between insurance companies and pharmacies to ship medications to sites of care), crisis practices of nurse staffing agencies, community benefits, behavioral health, and more are also high priority, and advocacy continues on all fronts. (CHA’s Bill Tracker has the latest on these issues.)
In all, CHA is tracking several hundred bills that could have an impact on hospitals. As we forge ahead through these middle innings and into the late-game stage, we’ll continue to keep you informed of progress and change.