JoAnne Obata

The Value that Hospitals Bring to Our Lives

In her poem “Lady Geraldine’s Courtship,” Elizabeth Barrett Browning poignantly captures the essence of hospitals in society:    

“How many desolate creatures on the earth  
Have learnt the simple dues of fellowship  
And social comfort, in a hospital” 

5 Things To Know: Certified Wellness Coach Scholarship

New Certified Wellness Coach Scholarship Program: The Department of Health Care Access and Information (HCAI) launched the Certified Wellness Coach profession earlier this year in its ongoing commitment to expand and enhance behavioral health services for youth. This role is designed to deliver comprehensive prevention and early intervention services, promoting the physical, emotional, and mental well-being of young people. 

5 Things To Know: Covid-19 Data

Hospitals No Longer Required To Report Covid-19 Data To HHS: Hospitals are no longer required to report COVID-19 data mandated by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) through the National Healthcare Safety Network, effective since April 30. Additionally, discharge reporting of hospitalized COVID-19 cases (All Facilities Letter 21-25) to the California Department of Public Health has been discontinued.  

5 Things To Know: National EMS Week

Celebrate National EMS Week: May 19-25 marks the 50th anniversary of National Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Week. Our first responders provide access to quality emergency care, which dramatically improves the survival and recovery rate of those who experience sudden illness or injury. We want to recognize both our in-house team members and partners in the community, and the value and accomplishments they contribute to the health of all the populations we serve.    

5 Things To Know: San Diego County Releases Budget

San Diego County Releases 2024-26 Budget: San Diego County released its recommended 2024-26 budget on May 2, which maintains current services and funds new ones, uses data and community input gathered throughout the year, and considers equity for vulnerable populations. The budget also includes $1.1 billion in investments for behavioral health services.  

5 Things To Know: Equity In Behavioral Health

SAMHSA To Host Equity In Behavioral Health Webinar: The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) will host a webinar on May 22 at noon (PT) to discuss how its African American Behavioral Health Center of Excellence is addressing inequities at the intersection of behavioral health and justice systems. To register, visit the event web page. (A Microsoft-based email is required because the webinar is offered on the Teams platform.)  

5 Things To Know: Ballot Initiative

BALLOT INITIATIVE WOULD DEDICATE MCO TAX REVENUE TO FUND MEDI-CAL: The Coalition to Protect Access to Care has submitted more than 800,000 voter signatures to qualify the Protect Access to Healthcare initiative for California’s November 2024 ballot. CHA supports the proposed ballot measure, which would permanently channel managed care organization (MCO) tax revenue to Medi-Cal providers such as hospitals, physicians, women’s health and community clinics, and health centers. To help build support, the coalition has created a toolkit, which includes a sample newsletter that can be adapted for various audiences, sample social posts and graphics, and links to fact sheets.   

5 Things To Know: CARE Act Update

SAN DIEGO COUNTY CARE ACT UPDATE: The Community Assistance, Recovery, and Empowerment (CARE) Act program began on Oct. 1, 2023, in San Diego County, one of seven pilot counties in the state. The CARE Act created a new pathway to deliver mental health and substance use services to individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia or other psychotic disorders but who are not engaged in treatment. To date, San Diego County has received 106 referrals, and 34 have become actively enrolled and engaged clients.  

5 Things To Know: Default Enrollment Pilot

MEDICARE MEDI-CAL PLANS – DEFAULT ENROLLMENT PILOT: This summer, the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) will launch a default enrollment pilot for select Medicare Medi-Cal (Medi-Medi) Plans in San Diego and San Mateo counties. Medi-Medi Plans are a type of Medicare Advantage (MA) plan that coordinates all benefits and services across both programs for dually-eligible individuals. Under the pilot, when a managed care plan (MCP) member becomes eligible for Medicare due to age or disability, they will automatically be enrolled in the Dual Eligible Special Needs Plan (D-SNP) for that MCP, unless the member chooses a different Medicare option, such as Original Medicare or another MA plan. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services included guidance on D-SNP default enrollment in its annual MA Enrollment and Disenrollment Guidance. Please contact DHCS at with any questions or comments about Medi-Medi Plans

5 Things To Know: Webinar Trainings

TRAINING SET FOR CHILDREN’S PRESUMPTIVE ELIGIBILITY AND NEWBORN GATEWAY: Medi-Cal’s outreach and education team and the Department of Health Care Services will host overview trainings on Children’s Presumptive Eligibility and Newborn Gateway. The live webinar trainings will be conducted on May 29 at 10 a.m. (PT) and June 6 at 1 p.m. (PT) and will be recorded. Providers must register through the Medi‑Cal Learning Portal.