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Action Alert

Blog Posts tagged "Action Alert"

Two important bills are being heard soon and your voice is needed to make sure they get through the first policy committee. Send your letters of support TODAY to urge the Assembly and Senate Health Committees to pass these important new policies:

We need your support to increase access to fresh fruits, nuts, and vegetables for low-income Californians. Limited access and lack of resources to purchase healthy food can have a huge impact on health outcomes and chronic diseases, which disproportionately impact people of color.

Last year, Governor Brown signed AB 1321 (Ting), creating the Nutrition Incentive Matching Grant Program which would double the amount of nutrition benefits (e.g. CalFresh, WIC, and SSI) available to low-income Californians through grants to certified farmers’ markets. Now, a coalition of advocates are requesting a $5 million state budget proposal to fund this program, which would expand the number of participating certified farmers’ markets and small business.
 
Please send your letter of support today to support the Nutrition Incentive Matching Grant Program. This budget proposal will be heard next Wednesday (3/30) in the Assembly Budget Subcommittee No.3 on Resources and Transportation. Click here for a sample letter of support.
 
Hearing Date: 
Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 3 on Resources and Transportation
Wednesday, March 30
Room 447
9:00 AM

Your support is needed TODAY. Please send your letters of support by Monday, March 28th!

CPEHN applauds the Governor’s renewed commitment to expand health care to California’s undocumented children but urges greater investment in the health of communities of color broadly given the projected $3.6 billion surplus.

On Thursday, January 7th, Governor Jerry Brown released his proposed FY 2016-17 state budget, which includes modest increases in Medi-Cal and other safety-net programs. We are elated to see that the Governor’s proposal maintains the state’s prior commitment to expand full-scope Medi-Cal to undocumented children starting on May 1, 2016. Additionally, we applaud the Governor’s tax revenue proposal to extend the Managed Care Tax (MCO), which is set to expire in 2016. The tax proposal, pending negotiations between the Governor and health plans, will provide $1.1 billion in state funding to help defray the cost of the In-Home Supportive Services program (IHSS) and other health care services. The 2016-17 budget also includes a small increase in SSI/SSP grants for seniors and persons with disabilities, the first increase since 2006.

With a large projected revenue surplus, however, the budget proposal misses important opportunities to invest in the health of California’s new majority, communities of color. The budget, for example, does not seek to restore dental benefits or concretely address the lack of comprehensive health care coverage for undocumented adults. Further, the $3.2 billion in additional revenues for transportation will primarily fund repaving roads and expanding trade corridors rather than expanding funding for active transportation to positively impact climate change and public health. We also urge the elimination of the Maximum Family Grant (MFG) in the CalWORKs program, which unfairly denies financial support to babies born while their families are receiving grants.

On Saturday, the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) agreed in principle to a five-year, $6.2 billion waiver for California’s Medicaid program. The new waiver, or “Medi-Cal 2020,” is good news for California as it will provide the state with much needed funds to begin the next phase of Affordable Care Act (ACA) implementation – equitably improving health care quality and reforming delivery so that it is more targeted and efficient.

The waiver agreement, while a significant achievement, is lower than California’s original request for $17 billion in funding and is almost $1 billion lower than the state’s revised waiver request of $7.25 billion. CMS has granted the state a temporary two-month extension of the current waiver until December 31st while state and federal officials work out the remaining details of the new waiver.

The conceptual agreement includes the following core elements:

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has issued proposed regulations to implement Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Section 1557 prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin (including immigration status and language), sex (including sex stereotyping and gender identity), age, or disability in health programs. These protections apply to consumers in all federally funded state health programs, including Covered California and Medi-Cal.

The proposed regulations are a good first step, but the rule could be made stronger to better protect people at risk of discrimination in health coverage or care, including communities of color, Limited English Proficient, women, LGBTQ populations, and persons with disabilities.
 
Public comments are needed to strengthen these proposed regulations. While comments submitted by organizations are important, it also is very important for individual members of the public to submit personalized comments.
 
Please submit your comments online no later than 2 pm PT on November 9, 2015. Click on the blue "Comment Now!" button on the top right of the page. You can either type in your comments or upload a file from your computer.
 
You can use these sample messages to guide your comments. The National Health Law Program (NHeLP) also has a great sample letter you can use.

Submit your comments today!

We are very close to enacting some important changes to our health care system and your support can make a difference! All three of our sponsored bills are on their way to Governor Jerry Brown’s desk and your letters of support can help encourage him to sign them into law. The bills will help consumers enroll in and access the care they need. Please send in letters of support today!
 
Translating Consumer Tool: SB 388 (Mitchell) requires health insurance plans to translate the “summary of benefits and coverage” – a tool that helps consumers understand their benefits – into non-English languages based on California’s language access requirements. It also requires the California Department of Managed Health Care and the California Department of Insurance to make available on their website the translated templates of the tool. Download and send in a sample letter of support for SB 388 here.

Improving Provider Directories: SB 137 (Hernandez) creates standards for provider directories and requires regular updates so that they include accurate information about which doctors and hospitals are in a patient's network and which languages are spoken when shopping for coverage or seeking care. CPEHN is co-sponsoring this legislation with Consumers Union and Health Access. Download and send in a sample letter of support for SB 137 here.

Your support is needed for SB 4 (Lara), the Health for All Act, which is being heard in the Assembly Health Committee on July 7th at 1:30 PM.
 
In this year’s budget, the state invested $40 million to expand health care coverage to undocumented children, but the fight to expand health care coverage to all Californians, regardless of immigration status, is far from over. SB 4 establishes critical infrastructure that sets the foundation for full expansion of health care coverage in the future. Download and send in a letter of support for SB 4 today!
 
The hearing is scheduled for:
 
Assembly Health Committee
Tuesday, July 7
State Capitol Room 4202
1:30 pm
Letters of support must be received by noon this Wednesday, July 1st.

Please download and send in your letters TODAY!

Your support is needed to ensure consumers are informed about their health insurance benefits and know which doctors and hospitals are in their networks. Urge the California Assembly Committee on Health to pass legislation requiring translation of a health plan's summary of benefits and coverage (SBC) and ensuring provider directories are accurate and up-to-date. Please send in your letter of support today for SB 388 (Mitchell) and SB 137 (Hernandez)
 
SB 388 (Mitchell) requires a health insurance plan’s SBC to be translated into non-English languages consistent with California’s existing language access requirements for other vital documents and would require the California Department of Managed Health Care and the California Department of Insurance to make available translated templates of the SBC on their websites. Download a sample letter of support for SB 388. Letters must be received by 12:00 PM on Wednesday, June 24th.

SB 137 (Hernandez) creates standards for provider directories and requires regular updates so that they include accurate information about which doctors and hospitals are in a patient's network and the languages spoken when shopping for coverage or seeking care. CPEHN is co-sponsoring this legislation with Consumers Union and Health Access. Download a sample letter of support for SB 137. Letters must be received by 12:00 PM on Wednesday, July 1st.

Hearings for the bills are scheduled for:

Your letters are needed to ensure consumers are informed of their right to language assistance in hospitals and to expand access to translated prescription labels. Please send in your letters of support for AB 389 (Chau) and AB 1073 (Ting). 

AB 389 (Chau) requires hospitals to post on their websites their policies for providing language assistance to Limited English Proficient (LEP) patients. The bill also requires two state agencies, the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development and the California Department of Public Health, to post hospital language assistance policies on their website. This bill improves access to this information for all Californians and ensures consumers are informed about their right to language assistance. Download a sample letter of support today! Letters must be received by Wednesday, June 3rd.

AB 1073 (Ting) requires pharmacists to use standardized written translations of prescription directions developed by the Board of Pharmacy, which are currently available in Chinese, Vietnamese, Spanish, Korean, and Russian. Sponsored by the California Board of Pharmacy, AB 1073 helps reduce medical errors, increases patient compliance, and meets the needs of LEP patients. Download a sample letter of support today! Letters must be received by Monday, June 8th.

The hearings are scheduled for:

AB 389 (Chau)
June 10, 2015, 1:30 pm
Senate Committee on Health
State Capitol, Room 4203

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of National Coordinator for Health Information Technology has proposed a regulation to require electronic health record systems to document and use disaggregated data on race, ethnicity, language, sexual orientation, gender identity, and social and behavioral factors that influence health. This data will make it easier to identify disparities and achieve health equity. 

The regulation would require up to 900 race and ethnicity categories and up to 600 language categories, the first time that any federal department has required comprehensive disaggregation. This also would be the first time that sexual orientation and gender identity data would be routinely collected.
 
Public comments supporting this proposed regulation are needed. Please submit yours today! 
While comments submitted by organizations are important, it also is very important for individual members of the public to submit personalized comments.
 
Please submit your comments online no later than 2 pm PT on May 29, 2015. Click on the blue "Comment Now!" button on the top right of the page. You can either type in your comments or upload a file from your computer.
 
You can use these key messages to guide your comments.

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