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.
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.
MEDI-CAL ELIGIBILITY FOR NEW UKRAINIAN ARRIVALS: The Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) has released a Medi-Cal Eligibility Division Information Letter to provide guidance to counties on the Medi-Cal eligibility of Ukrainian nationals arriving in California. It is anticipated that a significant number will resettle in California. The federal government has not provided any special benefit eligibility for this population, but has authorized the use of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Ukrainian arrivals who qualify. Many of the Ukrainian arrivals may enter under TPS or as humanitarian parolees and may not be eligible for the traditional federal services offered to immigrants granted refugee status. However, they may qualify for state-funded programs, including state-funded full-scope Medi-Cal. The letter provides guidance on how to establish Medi-Cal eligibility for this population (based on current Medi-Cal policy) for state and federal Medi-Cal benefits. DHCS will work closely with the state Office of Refugee Health and stakeholders to ensure that new Ukrainian arrivals receive the Medi-Cal benefits to which they are entitled.
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.
CHNA SURVEY: ICYMI in the Feb. 16 Biweekly, HASD&IC asked for your help in connecting with communities across San Diego County for the 2022 Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA). Please consider promoting the survey through your organization’s communication venues, including newsletters, public distribution lists, social media, employee distribution lists, etc. To assist members with promotion, HASD&IC has created a social media toolkit with text and images. The CHNA survey is available in six languages — English, Arabic, Somali, Spanish, Tagalog, and Vietnamese.
MEDI-CAL MANAGED CARE RFP: On Feb. 9, the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) released a request for proposal (RFP) for its commercial Medi-Cal managed care plan (MCP) contracts. While this RFP is only for commercial Medi-Cal MCPs, the updated contract will be executed with all Medi-Cal MCPs, including County Organized Health Systems, Local Initiatives, and the new Single Plan Model. The updated MCP contract, which is released with the RFP, also serves as the minimum definition of requirements. MCP proposals are due April 11, and DHCS expects to award contracts to selected plans in August. New contracts will become effective Jan. 1, 2024. A voluntary pre-proposal web conference will be held on Feb. 24 from 1 to 2:30 p.m. (PT). Pre-registration is required, and questions will be taken only via the webinar chat feature.
MONOCLONAL ANTIBODIES: A reminder that monoclonal antibodies are available for early treatment of COVID-19 in both San Diego and Imperial counties. More information, including treatment sites and how to refer patients, is available for San Diego County and Imperial County providers. In addition, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is requesting that providers complete by Dec. 3 an updated survey to help understand how frequently monoclonal antibodies are being used at health care facilities (both for treatment and as post-exposure prophylaxis). This information will be used to ensure that CDPH adequately addresses supply, education, and/or resource gaps. The updated survey includes new questions to reflect the evolving landscape of distribution. Health care facilities are encouraged to complete the survey, even if they completed it previously.
IMPERIAL COUNTY LOCAL HEALTH AUTHORITY: The Local Health Authority Commission met in closed session on Nov. 8 for discussion of current and potential contracting models relating to Knox Keene licensing, pursuant to Welfare and Institutions Code § 14087.38 (m) (n).