CaliforniaHealth+ Advocates Policy Priorities for 2021


To advance an equitable and anti-racist health care delivery system, CaliforniaHealth+ Advocates commits to a policy platform that elevates the mission of California’s community health centers and reduces racial health disparities existing in the communities they serve.

 

Equitable COVID-19 Response

Guarantee that COVID-19 testing, treatment, and vaccine distribution recognizes the higher burden of the disease in disproportionately impacted communities – including Black, Asian and Pacific Islander, Indigenous and Latinx persons – and places those groups at the center of COVID-19 response and recovery.

 

Coverage and Access for All

The pandemic significantly impacted the state’s fiscal health, risking years of progress in expanding health care coverage, and the health of communities at highest risk of COVID-19 exposure, transmission, and death, at a time when access is needed most.


  • Grant every Californian the right to comprehensive health care coverage, regardless of immigration status.

  • Maintain current telehealth access, including telephonic care, to meet the comprehensive health needs of all persons and communities while providing patients and providers with the necessary resources to utilize virtual care by closing the digital divide.

  • Stand with consumer advocates to strengthen outreach and enrollment retention systems to support those recently unemployed, uninsured, and experiencing housing insecurities, in accessing programs of care.

  • Ensure that Medi-Cal changes, such as the Medi-Cal pharmacy benefits transition, causes no harm to community clinics and health centers, the broader safety-net, or the patients they serve.

  • Strengthen the behavioral health delivery system through improved provision, integration, and coordination of mental health and substance use disorder services in the primary care setting while also allocating the resources needed to do this work.

  • Advance and protect the Medi-Cal dental benefit while enhancing oral health innovations.

  • Support coordinated care and health services provided outside a clinic’s four walls to special patient populations including homeless or farmworkers.

 

Strong Workforce

COVID-19 laid bare California’s worsening workforce gaps. COVID-19 is taking a toll on the mental and physical well-being of care teams and impacts workforce pipeline that further undermine health and economic stability of predominately Black, immigrant, and rural communities.


  • Work with state and federal partners, including HRSA Bureau of Health Workforce, to counter the shortage of healthcare providers and promote a workforce reflecting patients’ diverse race and ethnicity, culture, and language by securing funding for residency, training, and loan repayment programs for nurse practitioners, physicians assistants, physicians, and behavioral health professionals.

  • Support the next generation of providers through improving provider licensing and connecting health care workforce trainees to community health centers.

  • Advocate for training programs and resources that address racial and implicit bias in healthcare.

  • Identify and promote educational, retention, and leadership strategies to diversify health center leaders that are committed to creating an antiracist health care delivery system.

  • Explore opportunities to expand workforce training programs in community colleges and occupational advancements for allied health workforce, including medical assistants and community health workers.

 

Health Center Viability that Values Community, Recognizes Racial Disparities, and Addresses Social Determinants

Health centers are facing a perilous fiscal future that undermines COVID-19 response and will stifle equitable economic recovery and increase health gaps across California communities.


  • Support federal funding strategies that guarantee the viability of community clinics and health centers.

  • Strive for payment modernization that recognizes the role of every care team member, allows health centers to provide culturally and linguistically competent care, and addresses social determinants of health.

  • Advocate for equitable and transparent reimbursement policies and the application of those policies in a standardized and timely fashion.

  • Improve the quality and delivery of care by promoting healthcare innovations that center on Value-based Payment and shared savings programs.

  • Continue to address health center operational challenges, including FQHC program requirements, licensing and building standard requirements, and Medi-Cal regulations that impact CHC success today and into the future.

 

Empowering Communities

This pandemic, as well as climate change, has worsened long standing racial inequities in education, housing, transportation, food access and other social determinants of health. Intentional policy efforts will be needed to right these wrongs and health centers must empower their patients while guaranteeing they are at the center of solutions.


  • Promote policies that recognize racism as a public health crisis.

  • Building on Census 2020 and My Vote. My Health. campaigns, we commit to expand staff and patient advocacy and support policies that promote civic engagement.

  • Support programs, policies, and data collection systems that promote health equity and build capacity to measure and address health disparities across racial and linguistic lines.

  • Support programs and policies that advance equity in education, food access, housing, income, and transportation. 

  • Prepare communities to be resilient in the face of increasing impacts of climate change – wildfires and extreme heat events - and support equitable distribution of state and federal resources to prepare for and respond to natural disasters.                                                       

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