Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 1 hears STD, CHVP and BIH Proposals
On Monday, the Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 1 on Health and Human Services continued to hear the Governor’s January budget proposals. This hearing focused on issues under the purview of the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and included three key proposals of interest to local health departments. Highlights are provided below.
STD Funding. Dr. Gil Chavez, Deputy Director for the Center for Infectious Diseases at CDPH presented the Administration’s request for $2 million ongoing General Fund beginning FY 2019-20. Recall, this builds upon the one-time funding that was included in the FY 2018-19 enacted budget. Dr. Chavez highlighted the increased rates of STDs in California and the related health disparities that exist. He further underscored the need for ongoing funding and the great work local health departments have done to date.
The Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) noted that the amount of $2 million does not have an analytic basis, but instead is simply a continuation of the funding passed in last year’s budget and mentioned their interest in working with the Department of Finance and others to determine the appropriate level of STD funding needed in our State.
CHEAC expressed support for the Governor’s proposal while also noting that the amount of investment local health departments need to address communicable diseases, including STDs, is much greater.
California Home Visiting Program (CHVP). CDPH representatives from the Center for Family Health at CDPH provided members with a brief overview of the Administration’s proposal to provide $23 million ongoing General Fund to increase participation in CHVP, expand to additional jurisdictions and utilize additional evidence-based home visiting models. During their presentation, CDPH provided a three-year timeline for the funding. In year one, CDPH would provide additional funding to existing sites. In year two, CDPH would expand into new counties. In year three, CDPH would expand the number of evidence-based models that could be utilized. The budget subcommittee asked CDPH to comment on whether these activities could overlap in year 1. CDPH indicated that preparation activities would overlap in year 1 but did not express a reconsideration of the timeline.
Acting Chair Reyes also expressed considerable concern with her county not being one of the counties that receive CHVP funding currently and further expressed an interest in understanding the criteria to be used to expand to additional counties. Members continued to question CDPH’s approach in both selecting counties to expand to and with selecting additional models. CDPH referenced their ongoing discussions with local MCAH directors in informing CDPH’s process.
CHEAC shared our support for the ongoing investment in CHVP and expressed an interest in engaging in discussions around the State’s approach.
Black Infant Health (BIH). CDPH representatives presented the Governor’s proposal to provide $7 million to local health departments to expand the BIH program. CHEAC expressed support for the Governor’s additional investment into the BIH program, but also shared concerns around the current prescriptive nature of the program and the need for additional flexibility in implementing interventions. Acting Chair Reyes voiced her appreciation for the comment around flexibility and asked CDPH about whether that could be incorporated. CDPH discussed the work of the Perinatal Equity Initiative (PEI) and indicated their desire to use the PEI data to potentially inform new strategies.
All items were held open.