SPP Increase: CaliforniaHealth+ Advocates is requesting an additional $50 Million general fund commitment for the Supplemental Payment Pool. This commitment from the state would draw down an additional $50 million federal match. It would total $100 million, for a total of $205 million annually (Governor has already committed to $105 million). More funding is critically needed. Increasing the SPP will ensure patient services remain intact. The loss of 340B savings will impact patient services by reducing hours of operations for both primary care sites and pharmacies, which will translate into limiting access to pharmaceuticals, increasing wait times for patients to be seen and overall patient access. Assemblywoman Wendy Carrillo is our champion in this effort.
May Revise Update: Governor Newsom’s May Revision does not include the doubling of the supplemental payment pool that health centers began advocating for in 2021.
Workforce: CaliforniaHealth+ Advocates is requesting an additional $51M in new funding for educational debt relief, advanced practice clinician training program, and residency programs. The health care workforce challenges that predated COVID-19 have only been exacerbated by the pandemic – the physical and mental health burden of this disease on our clinical teams as they deliver equitable care cannot be understated. A workforce investment is critical for CHCs to recruit and train their future workforce while maintaining the workforce of today. Assemblymember Rudy Salas is our champion in this effort.
May Revise Update: The May Revise does not include CaliforniaHealth+ Advocates’ $51M healthcare workforce development budget request. However, it does demonstrate Governor Newsom’s efforts to build on his proposed $1.7B workforce investment in the January budget.
Health4All: CaliforniaHealth+ Advocates, along with the Health4All coalition is advocating to expand full-scope Medi-Cal eligibility to include all income-eligible adults (aged 26-49) regardless of immigration status. We support Governor Newsom’s FY22-23 January Budget Proposal, which would close the remaining gap. Currently, there is a remaining gap for who is eligible to access Medi-Cal. Last year, CA expanded eligibility to 50 or older, but we are not covered until everyone is fully covered.
May Revise Update: The Governor’s May Revision solidifies California’s commitment to expand full-scope Medi-Cal eligibility to all income-eligible Californians regardless of immigration status. Eligible undocumented immigrants 50 and older recently became eligible on May 1, 2022. The proposal to close the remaining gap in coverage for individuals ages 26-49 would go into effect on January 1, 2024.
Telehealth: CaliforniaHealth+ Advocates is supporting telehealth trailer bill language (TBL) that maintains COVID-19 PHE payment parity and all establishing patient flexibilities post 2022. Last year, Governor Gavin Newsom signed AB 133 – an omnibus health trailer bill. The trailer bill made a commitment to maintain all current telehealth flexibilities, including PPS payment for audio-only modalities, through December 31, 2022. DHCS released TBL in March for post December 2022, and we are pleased to see positive developments and a commitment to telehealth flexibilities, including payment parity post December 2022. Telehealth flexibilities decrease barriers and increase access to care for health center patients and reduces the no-show rates significantly. Thus, we look to the legislature to expand on the TBL’s limited approach to establishing new patients as the proposed limitations around new patients undermine recent improvements for patients who have historically faced barriers to accessing in-person services and who have limited access to the technology and high-speed data necessary for a synchronous video visit. While we support policies that help ensure patients can make informed choices when accessing health care services, we have concerns regarding the Department’s intent to impose additional disclosure and consent requirements pertaining to telehealth services. We look forward to continuing working with the Legislature to guarantee the greatest flexibility in use of telehealth post 2022.
May Revise Update: While the May Revision does not include details regarding telehealth flexibility, the Administration released trailer bill language in February outlining the future of telehealth policy post December 2022. The Administration’s commitment to continue telehealth flexibilities and build on the commitments of AB 133 (2021) post December 2022 can be seen in the trailer bill language. The trailer bill language assumes funding for payment parity, including for audio-only care.
SB 939 (Pan): Prohibiting Discriminatory Contracting in the 340B Pharmacy Program
This bill would prohibit discriminatory actions by PBMs and drug manufacturers when providing 340B drugs to CHCs and their patients. SB 939 would ensure that 340B savings remain with CHCs, and their medically underserved patients -- rather than being taken by PBMs and payers.
SB 939 is critical in protecting patients and community health centers. CHCs can reinvest the savings from the 340B program into patient services, such as patient navigation, transportation, and other critical services.
Status: Assembly Health Committee
SB 966 (Limón): Increasing Behavioral Health Access
This bill would extend the flexibilities allowed during the declared public health emergency to hire and bill for ASWs and AMFTs. This bill will also remove the change in scope requirement for LMFTs. It would expand behavioral health access and increase access to culturally and linguistically appropriate care.
Our state is dealing with an extreme workforce shortage, leaving community health centers with decreased capacity to meet the increased demand of behavioral health services for California’s safety net patients. To expand behavioral health access and increase access to culturally and linguistically appropriate care, we must extend the flexibilities allowed during the declared public health emergency to hire and bill for ASWs and AMFTs.
Status: Assembly Health Committee