Our Focus on Equity: Communities of Color in Post-ACA California convening series continued today in Los Angeles, and we continued to hear more great discussion about behavioral health integration, Health for All efforts to expand health coverage regardless of immigration status, and ways to improve quality of care while considering equity measures.
The day began with a great presentation by Felicia Jones of Healthy African American Families and Dr. Michael Ong from UCLA about Community Partners in Care (CPIC). Jones and Ong described how CPIC was a partnership between community and academic partners to develop strategies to reduce the burden of depression in vulnerable communities, particularly South Los Angeles and Hollywood/Metro Los Angeles.
Our spring convening series, Focus on Equity: Communities of Color in a Post-ACA California, continued today in Fresno, as health advocates gathered to discuss the most pressing health needs for communities of color in the Central Valley. Like our Oakland convening on Tuesday, this event focused on three key areas: behavioral health integration, considering equity when improving the quality of care, and Health for All efforts to expand access to coverage for everyone regardless of immigration status.
Jennifer Torres from Clinica Sierra Vista started things off by discussing ongoing efforts to integrate behavioral health services with primary care services at community health clinics in Kern and Fresno Counties. She pointed to some initial challenges with assimilating behavioral health into the culture of community health clinics, but also noted that progress has been made.
Updating the bills we've been talking about today: SB 388 (Mitchell), SB 546 (Leno), SB 291 (Lara), and SB 26 (Hernandez) have all passed out of the Senate Health Committee!
Update 3:40 pm
SB 388, authored by Holly Mitchell and sponsored by CPEHN, would require a health insurance plan’s summary of benefits and coverage (SBC) to be translated into non-English languages consistent with California’s existing language access requirements for other vital documents and would require the Department of Managed Health Care and the Department of Insurance to make available translated templates of the SBC on their websites.
Testimony from bill sponsors and supporters showed the importance of reducing language barriers in the health care system. By having access to translated SBCs, patients will have a better understanding of what benefits they receive through their health plans. The bill was heard without opposition.
SB 546, authored by Senator Mark Leno, would add transparency to large group health plans through a rate review process. The rate review would only kick in if the rate increases are higher than the average increases across all the plans being offered. CPEHN and other supporters of the bill point to skyrocketing health care costs in large group plans, particularly in union health plans, as a reason why rate review is necessary. The bill does not include rate regulation provisions, but the transparency that comes with rate review could lead to more public outcry about drastic rate increases.
We’re less than a week away from the start of our spring convening series. Starting next Tuesday in Oakland, we’ll be hosting four exciting events, Focus on Equity: Communities of Color in a Post-ACA California, to examine the future of health equity in California now that the state has fully implemented the coverage expansions of the Affordable Care Act.
Focus on Equity will take a look at some of the most pressing issues impacting the health of California’s communities of color. Participants will hear experts discuss Health for All efforts to expand health coverage to all Californians regardless of immigration status. There will also be opportunities to learn more about the integration of behavioral and physical health care and how we can incorporate equity when working to improve health care quality.
If you attend you’ll also find out how you can educate your community members and empower them to take action on these important issues. There’s still time to register, so sign up today!
Oakland – April 21, 2015 9:30 am to 2:00 pm Nile Hall, Preservation Park 668 13th Street Co-hosts: ACCESS Women's Health Justice, Asian Health Services, California Immigrant Policy Center, Korean Community Center of the East Bay, Young Invincibles Register for Oakland
Fresno – April 23, 2015 9:30 am to 2:00 pm Fresno Downtown Business Hub 1444 Fulton Street Co-hosts: California Immigrant Policy Center, California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation, Centro Binacional para el Desarrollo Indígena Oaxaqueño, Centro La Familia Register for Fresno
We talk a lot about the work to address the social and environmental determinants of health here in California. But where does that work fall in the context of national efforts focusing on prevention and public health?
Next week (on March 19th), a web event co-hosted by Dialogue4Health, the American Public Health Association, Prevention Institute, Public Health Institute, and the Trust for America’s Health will highlight efforts across the country to promote prevention and strengthen population health. The event, Advancing Prevention and Population Health: New Year, New Efforts, New Opportunities, will stress the importance of continued funding for prevention work, strong partnerships among health advocates, and what needs to be done to build a culture of health.
Specifically, the event agenda includes:
An update on how children’s hospitals are working to advance population health;
Strategies from a public health department that is leading the way with elected officials and other stakeholders to build support for continuing public investments; and
A Congressional update about the current national funding landscape for public health.
Speakers from the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pension Committee, the Children’s Hospital Association, and the Minnesota Department of Public Health will be offering their insights on prevention and population health in 2015.
This should be an interesting forum for anyone working on addressing the social and environmental determinants of health. Perhaps you can pick up some new ideas or strategies based on the work going on at the national level and in other states.
At our recent town hall meetings to discuss the California Reducing Disparities Project’s Statewide Strategic Plan to Reduce Mental Health Disparities a lot of attendees asked about the funding solicitations for Phase 2 of the project. This week, the California Department of Public Health, Office of Health Equity (OHE) released draft versions of these solicitations for public comment (and not for submitting proposals yet). You can review them and share your feedback to the Office of Health Equity by March 25th. The final solicitations, considering the public comments, will be available at a later date.
Here is the full announcement from OHE including how to access the solicitations and submit your comments:
The California Department of Public Health, Office of Health Equity has posted draft pre-solicitations for the California Reducing Disparities Project (CRDP), Phase 2 implementation on BidSync, links for BidSync on our website and links below. This is not a request for bids at this time. The purpose of the release is to solicit public feedback about our program and solicitation designs prior to release of the official solicitations. We are not accepting applications at this time.
Though we have done a lot of work to put these solicitations together, we acknowledge that there are still ways for us to improve our solicitations so that we can obtain the best bidders and ultimately the best provider of services for CRDP. We are asking:
CPEHN’s legislative briefing, Cultivating Health Equity, is this Thursday in Sacramento! We are very excited to bring together our founding ethnic partner organizations – the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum, the California Black Health Network, the California Rural Indian Health Board, and the Latino Coalition for a Healthy California – to highlight the top policy priorities for improving the health and well-being of communities of color in California this year. We are also looking forward to engaging conversations and presentations from top advocates and leaders in the fight for health equity. Here are a few highlights and speakers joining us at the Capitol this Thursday:
Multicultural Health Policy Agenda Our founding ethnic partners join us to highlight the top health policy priorities for communities of color.
December 1, 2014, marked the passing of one of the great lights in the struggle for health equity – Lark Galloway-Gilliam. Lark served as the executive director of nonprofit health advocacy organization Community Health Councils (CHC) since its founding in 1992. That year may be a familiar one to the people of Los Angeles, and that’s because CHC was started as a direct response to the civil unrest. Many of the health care establishments that burned to the ground were owned by outsiders and perceived as out of touch with the needs of the community. Lark saw the need for change and – along with several other women in the community – brought together a coalition to address health issues in South Los Angeles.
Lark was a hero who fought for the underserved not only in Los Angeles and California, but across this country. She served as an innovative thinker in the public administration and nonprofit sectors for more than 25 years. She was the chair of the National REACH Coalition, a member of the Advancing the Movement Advisory Committee, and a Durfee Foundation Sabbatical Awardee. She served as chair of her local Neighborhood Council. Lark dedicated her life to social justice.
For many of us committed to social justice and the health and wellbeing of our communities, this year’s celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday is particularly powerful.
Our society once again finds itself at the precipice of race relations. Social justice advocates and organizers, furious with the recent high profile killings of Black youth, mostly young men, have taken up the banner that Dr. King carried so many years ago, and are demanding that the legal and justice systems recognize that Black lives matter.
This demand that Black (and by extension Brown) lives matter is a call to action. It is a call for us to reflect on the work of Dr. King and to take to heart his own call to action that “the time is always right to do what is right.” This call to action goes well beyond the legal and justice systems. It is a call to action for every institution, every system, and every individual in our society.
One clear area of society where Dr. King’s message and the demand that Black and Brown lives matter needs to permeate is our health care system. It is time for our health care providers to do what is right and make Black and Brown lives, particularly the lives of young Black and Brown men, a priority.