Health Equity Forum: July 2019 State Policy Update

State Policy Update

CPEHN’s robust health equity agenda is moving quickly through the Legislature and gaining tremendous support! Check out CPEHN’s Policy Center, to stay up to date on our bills and download letters of support. 

Four of CPEHN’s sponsored legislation continue to move forward. With the support of our partners, SB 207 (Hurtado), which would increase access for Medi-Cal beneficiaries to asthma education and remediation services by qualified professionals – has been allotted $15 million in one-time funding in the final FY 2019-2020 budget.

Additionally, AB 318 (Chu), which would require counties collect more robust data on mental health disparities experienced by marginalized communities based on race, ethnicity, immigration status, language, gender identity, orientation, and disability status – has garnered not only bi-partisan support, but also support from over 40 organizations!

Finally, AB 929 (Rivas), which would require health plans to provide enrollee data to Covered California, and AB 512 (Ting), which would require counties to collect more robust data on mental health disparities, are also continuing through the legislative process.

Unfortunately, two of CPEHN’s sponsored bills did not make it through the legislative process. AB 537 (Wood) which would have improved the quality within Medi-Cal has become a two-year fight. And, AB 887 (Kalra), which would have codified the position of the California Surgeon General and relocated the Office of Health Equity (OHE) under the direction of the Surgeon General, died in the legislative process.

However, CPEHN will continue to monitor DHCS’ actions on improving the quality for Medi-Cal recipients and working closely with California’s Surgeon General to ensure our voices are heard!

The fight continues! CPEHN sponsored legislation is heading to the respective appropriations committee. Be sure to stay up to date with our action alerts to make your voice heard!

Highlights include: 

  • AB 4 Medi-Cal Eligibility (Bonta): Extends eligibility for full-scope Medi-Cal to all income eligible adults, regardless of immigration status. 
    • Assembly Floor: PASSED (Ayes 51. Noes 17. No Votes 12.)
    • Senate Health: HELD
       
  • AB 318 Medi-Cal Materials: Readability (Chu): Would require the Department of Health Care Services and the Medi-Cal Plans to field-test all translated consumer facing Medi-Cal Materials; and would require the department to convene a readability workgroup to improve priority Medi-Cal documents and train staff on best practices in making documents understandable to consumers.
    • Assembly Floor: PASSED (Ayes 61. Noes 16.)
    • Senate Health Committee: PASSED (Ayes 7. Noes 1.)
    • Senate Appropriations Committee: TBD
    • Senate Floor: TBD
       
  •  AB 512 Medi-Cal: Specialty Mental Health Services (Ting): Requires counties to collect more robust data on mental health disparities experienced by marginalized communities based on race, ethnicity, immigration status, language, gender identity, orientation, and disability status and requires them set forward looking goals in their mental health cultural competence plans in disparities reduction. Counties will be required to conduct meaningful stakeholder engagement to identify community-based and trauma-informed solutions to address disparities and the Department of Healthcare Services (DHCS) shall annually review their progress in reducing access and utilization barriers in mental health services at the county level. 
    • Assembly Floor: PASSED (Ayes 68. Noes 2. No Votes 10).
    • Senate Health Committee: PASSED (Ayes 7. Noes 1. No Vote 1.)
    • Senate Appropriations: TBD
    • Senate Floor: TBD
       
  • ​AB 537 Medi-Cal Managed Care: Quality Improvement and Value-Based Financial Incentive (Wood): Would establish a quality assessment and performance improvement program to improve the quality of health care services provided by Medi-Cal managed care plans and reduce health disparities.
    •  Assembly Appropriations Committee: HELD 
       
  • AB 887 State Government: Office of Health Equity (Kalra): Codifies the position of California Surgeon General and relocates the Office of Health Equity (OHE) under the direction of the Surgeon General. On January 7th, 2019, Governor Newsom issued Executive Order N-02-19 to establish the California Surgeon General. By moving the Office of Health Equity under the Surgeon General, the OHE will be better positioned to impact policy across state government agencies and departments. It would also provide the resources and support necessary for the Surgeon General to have impact across the state
    • Assembly Appropriations Committee: HELD
       
  • AB 929 California Health Benefit Exchange: Data Collection (Rivas): Would require health plans to provide enrollee data to our state’s health insurance exchange (Covered California) and for Covered California to make public plan-specific data on cost, quality, and health disparities reduction so consumers and purchasers can better gauge health plan progress towards improving enrollee health outcomes.
    • Assembly Floor: PASSED (Ayes 77. Noes 0.)
    • Senate Health Committee: PASSED (Ayes 7. Noes 0.)
    • Senate Appropriations Committee: TBD
       
  • SB 29 Medi-Cal Eligibility (Durazo): Extends eligibility for full-scope Medi-Cal to income eligible seniors ages 65 and over regardless of immigration status.
    • Senate Floor: PASSED (Ayes 24. Noes 11. No Votes 3.)
    • Assembly Health Committee: PASSED (Ayes 10. Noes 3. No Vote 2)
       
  • SB 207 Medi-Cal: Asthma Preventive Services (Hurtado): Will increase access for Medi-Cal beneficiaries to asthma education and home environmental asthma trigger assessments by enabling the Department of Healthcare Services (DHCS) to cover these services provided by qualified professionals that are recommended by a licensed practitioner. The bill will also increase resources to support minor-to-moderate remediation of environmental asthma triggers, which includes low-cost but high impact approaches such as providing mattress and pillow allergen-impermeable covers, using trigger-capturing vacuums, and utilizing Integrated Pest Management. 
    • Senate Floor: PASSED (Ayes 38. Noes 0.)
    • Assembly Health: PASSED (Ayes 15. Noes 0.)

Budget Asks:

  • Asthma Remediation Services: This proposal allocates $14.8 million for one year and combines Medi-Cal in-home asthma education services with environmental trigger remediation to address the burden of asthma in vulnerable communities. 
    • Assembly Budget & Fiscal Review Subcommittee No. 1 on Health & Human Services:  HEARD – May 6 
    • Final California Budget FY 2019-2020: APPROVED $15 million one-time funding for one year.
       
  • Health Care Navigators: Funding for community-based health care navigators ended on June 30, 2019. This proposal allocates $15 million state general funds for two years ($30 million over two years) to continue work. 
  • Assembly Budget & Fiscal Review Subcommittee No. 1 on Health & Human Services: HEARD – April 8 
    • Final California Budget FY 2019-2020: APPROVED $30 million over two years with a federal match – equating to $60 million over two years.

 

  • County Mental Health Equity Funding: This proposal allocates $10 million on-going funding for technical assistance and training from disparities reduction experts, innovation grants to invest in non-traditional mental health providers and statewide/county level data on mental health disparities access and outcomes by race, language, age, gender identity, sexual orientation.
    • Assembly Budget & Fiscal Review Subcommittee No. 1 on Health & Human Services:  HEARD – May 6 
    • Final California Budget FY 2019-2020: APPROVED $8 million one-time funding. $3 million for technical assistance and $5 million for funding innovation grants. Missing: $2 million for statewide and county level data collection.

Want to learn more about 2019 health equity budgetary wins? Download our FY 2019-2020 California budget score card here.