Every year, California’s hospitals treat millions of patients, many of them covered by Medi-Cal, the state’s health care safety net. This includes numerous essential health care services for Californians, including care for more than 50% of all births, 46% of behavioral health-related emergency department visits, 58% of rural hospital patient care days, 1 million inpatient stays, and nearly 16 million outpatient visits in 2018. CHA is committed to protecting Medi-Cal rates and assuring that the state’s neediest maintain access to the high quality of care that all Californians deserve.
WEBINAR SPEAKERS NEEDED: As part of their commitment to advancing safe, quality care, the Hospital Quality Institute/Collaborative Healthcare Patient Safety Organization, are launching a campaign to identify and recruit experts/front-line professionals who can speak on a variety of topics. Those topics include:
Please reach out to Asma Ahmad at firstname.lastname@example.org or (916) 552-2601 if there are individuals within your organization who have expertise in these subject areas (or on a topic that’s not listed) and would be willing to present for a one-hour webinar. In addition to the presentation, when appropriate, HQI/CHPSO intends to present real cases from the CHPSO database that will augment and enhance these forums.
FENTANYL SCREENING: The California Department of Public Health has issued an All Facilities Letter (AFL) 22-25 on fentanyl screening. The AFL notifies general acute care hospitals (GACH) of the passage of Senate Bill 864 (Chapter 169, Statutes of 2022) and its requirement that a GACH that is conducting a diagnostic urine drug screening must also include testing for fentanyl, until Jan. 1, 2028. For questions about this AFL, hospitals should contact their respective district office.
COMMUNITY HEALTH NEEDS ASSESSMENT (CHNA): Please join HASD&IC and CHNA-participating hospitals, health systems, and health districts for a community stakeholder briefing from 10 to 11:30 a.m. (PT) Nov. 29. The briefing will include a presentation on the 2022 CHNA as well as a discussion about potential future research and the next steps to address the identified community needs. Please forward this information to anyone in your network who might be interested in attending. The 2022 CHNA report is available on the HASD&IC website. After reviewing the report, please consider sharing your feedback through our survey.
MEDI-CAL FRAUD PREVENTION TRAINING: The Department of Health Care Services Investigations Division will join HASD&IC for a webinar on Nov. 8 from 10 a.m. to noon (PT) to provide Medi-Cal Fraud Prevention Training. The main objective of this training is to help preserve professional ethics and integrity to ensure that Medi-Cal benefits and other public program benefits are provided only to eligible persons. Attendees will hear potential fraud indicators and appropriate actions to take if they do encounter a suspicious situation. This training opportunity is highly encouraged for any hospital or vendor staff who assist patients with their Medi-Cal application and is a great opportunity to ask any questions about Medi-Cal fraud concerns. Please pass along the invitation to any staff and colleagues who would be interested in attending.
IMPERIAL COUNTY: Larry Lewis, who has been Pioneers Memorial Healthcare District CEO since 2012, has been hired to lead the Imperial County Local Health Authority. The announcement was made at the commission meeting on Oct. 10. He will assume responsibilities with the health authority on Nov. 14. We thank Larry for his years of service on the HASD&IC board and for his leadership at Pioneers to enhance the health and well-being of Imperial County communities. We wish him the best in his next endeavor and look forward to working with him in his new role.
MEDI-CAL MANAGED CARE CONTRACT APPEALS: Aetna Better Health of California, Blue Shield of California Promise Health Plan, Community Health Group, and Centene Corporation have all appealed the Department of Health Care Services’ notice of intent to award Medi-Cal Managed Care contracts in San Diego County. Health Net — owned by Centene — was awarded contracts in a number of counties, it is protesting its absence from Los Angeles County. In its appeal, Health Net contends that its historical presence and work providing Medi-Cal in the region merits its continued provision of managed care in the county.
BEHAVIORAL HEALTH HUB: Last week, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a plan for a less-expensive behavioral health facility at Alvarado Hospital Medical Center. When it opens in late 2023, the Central Regional Behavioral Health Hub will feature 44 new acute inpatient beds and a crisis stabilization unit. The county is also looking at other opportunities to expand other continuum capacities at sites such as the Rosecrans and Parcel/Third Avenue psychiatric facilities. Under the plan, Alvarado Hospital is the license holder/operator; UCSD will provide medical direction, clinical oversight, and clinical training capacity; and the county will be the capital investor, staffer, and payer. Plans call for investing capital in the project with expectations that future capacity will increase to 60 beds total.
The discussion will be continued at future Board of Supervisors meetings. On Sept. 27, Luke Bergmann, PhD, behavioral health services director for San Diego County’s Health and Human Services Agency, will present an analysis of the urgent needs of different service areas (post-acute and long-term care). On Oct. 11, Dr. Bergmann will present a report on concrete action to expand capacity in identified areas.
WORKFORCE: The San Diego Workforce Partnership recently launched the Healthcare Administration Pathways Program. This program will put participants with no health care experience (but preferable experience in hospitality or retail) through the UC San Diego (UCSD) Division of Extended Studies Revenue Cycle and Management Intensive Course at no cost to them. The partnership is working with UCSD, Rady’s Children’s Hospital, and Scripps Health to fill patient access representative I positions in hopes of diversifying the pipeline of workers. Participants who complete the course will also be eligible to sit for the certified revenue cycle specialist exam, which the workforce partnership will also fund. The San Diego Workforce Partnership is looking to expand partnerships with more hospitals in the region for this program.
CALAIM INCENTIVE PAYMENT PLAN PROGRAM UPDATE: The California Advancing and Innovating Medi-Cal (CalAIM) Incentive Payment Program is intended to support the implementation and expansion of enhanced care management and community supports by incentivizing managed care plans (MCPs) to drive MCP delivery system investment in provider capacity and delivery system infrastructure. It is also intended to bridge current silos across physical and behavioral health care service delivery; reduce health disparities and promote health equity; achieve improvements in quality performance; and encourage take-up of community supports. More information on the MCP Incentive Payment Plan Program Year 1 Gap Filling Plan is available by county (San Diego and Imperial included) on the Department of Health Care Services website. Additional general information on the Incentive Payment Program can be found on the CalAIM Roundtables by Region web pages for San Diego and Imperial counties.