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.
SDHDC COVID-19 AFTER ACTION REPORT: The San Diego Healthcare Disaster Coalition (SDHDC), in coordination with Constant Associates, a health care preparedness consulting firm, is creating COVID-19 After Action Report (AAR) templates for hospitals and other health care facilities on their responses to date. The idea is to help the SDHDC facilities and partners collect lessons learned, identify facility-specific and coalition-wide key strengths and areas for improvement, and complete their own facility-specific AAR.
COUNTY OF SAN DIEGO EXPANDS COVID-19 TESTING SITES: As COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to increase, so too has the demand for COVID-19 testing. To help divert people from coming to emergency departments for testing and make access as convenient as possible, the County of San Diego is reopening some of its former large testing sites, including the site at San Diego State University. Additional COVID-19 testing sites and mobile sites are being added to the list of options. Primary health care providers, community health clinics, and pharmacies all continue to offer testing. To find a site near you, visit the county website at Sites & Appointments.
Tabletop Exercise: HASD&IC and several hospital members participated in the 2021 San Diego Regional Tabletop Exercise on July 27. Over 125 participants took part, including representatives from:
San Diego County Board of Supervisors Address Medi-Cal Managed Care: Lask week, HASD&IC President & CEO Dimitrios Alexiou provided public comment (testimony starts at 4:08) in support of the Framework for the Future: Improving the County’s Wellness Care Delivery System to Address Health Disparities Exacerbated by the COVID-19 Pandemic and shared the HASD&IC Board of Directors guiding principles for new Medi-Cal managed care contracts. He emphasized the importance of using this opportunity to prioritize patients, strengthen local oversight, and increase accountability. HASD&IC will continue to engage with supervisors on the Medi-Cal managed care procurement process.
Addressing Chronic Homelessness: On June 28, the first phase of a partnership between the City and County of San Diego launched, with outreach teams hitting the streets to address the immediate and long-term challenges faced by people experiencing homelessness. This month-long outreach campaign is designed to connect individuals to immediate shelter, housing navigation and behavioral health services, and medical care. The second phase, scheduled to launch in August, will address the struggle of those who experience chronic homelessness with severe substance use disorder. It will connect them with teams who can link them to health and social services, including specialized temporary housing, regardless of the status of their sobriety.
Hazard Pay: The San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted to spend $36 million of American Rescue Plan funding on hazard pay for the county’s essential employees. Mandatory bonus pay has been the subject of much discussion around the state as we emerge from the pandemic. The Culver City Council has passed an ordinance that requires $5 per hour hero pay for employees at the city’s only hospital, and Assembly Bill (AB) 650 would mandate bonuses of up to $10,000 for hospital employees and contractors. However, AB 650 was moved to the Assembly Inactive File on June 3 and is now a two-year bill.
Medi-Cal Managed Care: Last fall, the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) began the process of re-procuring Medi-Cal managed care plan contracts. At the end of April, DHCS provided updates on both San Diego and Imperial counties. Imperial County submitted a request to create a County Organized Health System with California Health and Wellness; San Diego County decided not to pursue a local health initiative model, and DHCS indicated that it will award no more than two Medi-Cal managed care contracts in San Diego County. The draft request for proposal is expected in the next few weeks, but the changes will not take place until 2024.
New Ambulance Provider: The San Diego City Council voted 9-0 at its April 13 meeting to switch ambulance providers from American Medical Response (AMR) to Falck, a Danish company that is the largest ambulance operator in the world. This is the first time in 32 years that San Diego will have a new ambulance provider. The five-year contract requires a six-month transition period from AMR to Falck.