As California’s hospitals continue their life-saving work during the COVID-19 pandemic, the hospital associations continue to advocate on behalf of hospitals and their patients, in addition to offering these tools and resources:
EMSA AND CDPH WAIVERS: CHA is seeking the extension of the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and Emergency Medical Services Authority (EMSA) COVID-19 waivers from June 30 to Sept. 30. With a projected summer wave of COVID-19 threatening to strain an already stressed health care delivery system, these flexibilities are critical to maintaining the current health care capacity in California. Specifically, the waivers at risk are:
Both waivers will need an executive order to be issued by the governor’s office to update the most recent executive order’s provisions that otherwise will expire. CHA is advocating for these executive order provisions, and corresponding CDPH and EMSA waivers, to be renewed as soon as possible. CHA has developed talking points that hospitals may want to use in outreach to state legislators and department officials about the impacts to their communities if these flexibilities are not extended. HASD&IC submitted feedback from members to help with CHA’s advocacy efforts.
IMPERIAL VALLEY HOMELESSNESS: At the April 12 Imperial County Board of Supervisors meeting, the Imperial Valley Continuum of Care Council Administrative Entity provided details of how they are addressing homelessness and overall accomplishments so far. Updates include a redesign of an operating Coordinated Entry System, the entity’s pandemic response (a region-wide survey to understand needs), update on current continuum of care programs, and projects such as the new Homeless Day Center that will provide services to over 700 individuals per year, Lotus Living Community (transitional housing) for Imperial Valley College students, and youth programs for those experiencing homelessness that have served 156 youth.
MONOCLONAL ANTIBODIES: The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has issued a COVID-19 Therapeutics Needs Assessment survey to understand how frequently antiviral medications and monoclonal antibody treatments are being used in each jurisdiction and/or health care facility. The survey is designed to help CDPH understand challenges and successes in outpatient treatment of COVID-19. As the landscape of outpatient therapeutics is changing rapidly, there have been several versions of this survey. Hospitals are encouraged to complete the survey even if another version was previously completed. More information on COVID-19 therapeutics options is available on the CDPH COVID-19 treatments page.
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DONATION OF MEDICAL SUPPLIES FOR UKRAINE: The Naval Medical Center’s Zachary Alexander, MD, is working with the House of Ukraine, a local organization, to help obtain donations of medical supplies to send to Ukraine for humanitarian aid. The organization has established two flights per week from Los Angeles to Ukraine, and they are seeking all kinds of medical supplies, including expired and near-expired materials. A priority list of critically needed supplies is available; contact Dr. Alexander at Zac.firstname.lastname@example.org or (240) 426-3708 for more information about donating.
NEW LIVE WELL ON WHEELS BUS: During a Feb. 1 press conference, San Diego County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher and the Health and Human Services Agency announced the addition of a second Live Well on Wheels (WOW) bus. The bus will provide and deliver same-day services such as health care and food assistance, application assistance, or linkage to mental health services. In 2021, the Live WOW bus served nearly 23,000 people at more than 200 community events, mostly for COVID-19 services. Two additional Live WOW buses and one Public Health Lab bus are also on the way. These buses are available by request to attend community events that are co-hosted by community partners.
BEHAVIORAL HEALTH ASSESSMENT REPORT: To inform future planning on behavioral health, the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS), in collaboration with its stakeholders, produced a report on California’s behavioral health system: Assessing the Continuum of Care for Behavioral Health Services in California: Data, Stakeholder Perspectives, and Implications. This report reviews data and stakeholder perspectives as DHCS implements major behavioral health initiatives, including the Behavioral Health Continuum Infrastructure Program; the response to new federal funding opportunities; and a proposal for a Section 1115 Medicaid demonstration waiver in 2022 to strengthen mental health services for people living with serious mental illness, and children and youth living with serious emotional disturbance.