The HASD&IC Biweekly Briefing provides timely news and information for HASD&IC members and associates and is published on the first and third Wednesdays of the month. Key articles and issues of interest from each publication, along with the President’s Message, are included below. Media statements and press releases can also be found here.
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.
Naloxone Treatment: With the number of drug-related deaths growing at an alarming rate locally, the county of San Diego will soon make naloxone, an overdose reversal medication, widely available at several community-based locations and clinics throughout the county. While concerns over the increase in fentanyl-related overdoses and deaths were growing prior to the pandemic, fentanyl-related deaths increased 202% from 2019 to 2020 with more than 457 fentanyl-related deaths countywide in 2020.
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.
Input Sought on County Budget: As the effort continues to build a framework for a more equitable, inclusive San Diego County, public input is needed for the 2021-22 budget process. On May 6, the county’s Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) will recommend a draft budget, and on May 26-27 county departments will present their draft budgets. The budget hearings set for June 14 and 16 are opportunities to suggest changes or additional funding needs. From June 14-23 the CAO and Board of Supervisors can request changes to draft budget. This period is the last opportunity to advocate for budget changes. Final budget deliberation and adoption is set for June 29.
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.
New Crisis Stabilization Unit: Paradise Valley Hospital has partnered with San Diego County to open a new crisis stabilization unit (CSU) on the hospital’s Bayview campus in Chula Vista. This specialized department — the first and only unit of its kind in the South Bay, and the second CSU in San Diego County — will provide hospital-based emergency behavioral health services to county residents ages 18 and older. More information can be found on the Paradise Valley Hospital website.