Assembly Subcommittee No. 1 Hearing Features State of the State’s Public Health and CDPH Items

On Monday, the Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 1 on Health and Human Services, chaired by Assembly Member Joaquin Arambula, convened to hear budget items related to the California Department of Public Health (CDPH). Arambula foreshadowed much of the work that lies ahead for the subcommittee, indicating they have roughly 16 scheduled hearings and the largest workload in terms of stakeholder and Administration proposals. Because of this he indicated the new process for submitting stakeholder proposals for the Subcommittee’s consideration – requiring proposals being championed by an Assembly Member and submitted by the March 2 deadline to be heard.

State of the State’s Public Health

State Public Health Officer and CDPH Director Dr. Sonia Angell provided a State of the State’s Public Health before the subcommittee beginning with an issue at the forefront of many members, coronavirus. She indicated 43 confirmed cases of coronavirus in California, 24 cases were repatriated Americans, 10 cases were travel-related, 5 cases were person to person where they had exposure to a known traveler and lastly 4 cases of community transmission not tied to travel.

Dr. Angell provided a brief history of public health and briefly touched on a variety of other issues including chronic disease, health equity and disparities, and adverse childhood experiences. She also highlighted broader issues impacting one’s health including climate change, mental health, homelessness, substance use disorders and criminal justice involvement. Dr. Angell noted that CDPH is exploring ways to strengthen surveillance noting that some of our current surveys are not designed to engage key populations.

Following Dr. Angell’s presentation, Assembly Member Mathis asked several questions focused on coronavirus to which Susan Fanelli, Chief Deputy Director of Policy & Programs provided responses. He inquired about current expenditures by CDPH in response, whether CDPH has enough funding for response activities, the availability of mobile units and personal protective equipment, such as masks.

CHEAC Sponsored Budget Request

The Subcommittee also heard CHEAC’s budget request for $20 million for STD Navigation Services (see agenda item 17). Our Assembly champion and author of our sponsored bill AB 3224, Assembly Member Freddie Rodriguez highlighted the request and introduced Trudy Raymundo, San Bernardino County Public Health Director who delved deeper into the need and overview of our request on behalf of CHEAC. Several organizations testified in support our request during the hearing. No action was taken on this or any other items during the hearing.

End the Epidemics Coalition Budget Requests

Six budget requests from the End the Epidemics Coalition were also heard during the hearing, which CHEAC supported. The requests include:

  • $3 million ongoing General Fund for STD prevention;
  • $5 million ongoing General Fund for the Office of AIDS Syringe Exchange Supply Clearinghouse;
  • $2 million one-time General Fund for the development of a Master Plan on HIV, HCV and STDs;
  • $15 million General Fund to address HIV health inequities;
  • Increasing ADAP and PrEP-AP eligibility from 500 percent FPL to 600 percent FPL to align with new Covered California subsidies; and
  • $15 million ongoing General fund for HCV prevention, linkage to and retention in care.

Wellness Trust Proposal

Though not included on the agenda, during the public comment period of the hearing, Kat Deburgh from the Health Officer’s Association of California presented their budget request, co-sponsored with the Public Health Institute,  requesting a one-time appropriation of $180 million General Fund ($36 million per year) to launch the Wellness Fund. A handful of public health organizations, including CHEAC testified in support.

2019 Budget Act Funding Delays

The Subcommittee also expressed concerns with CDPH delays in getting 2019 Budget Act funding, particularly the $40 million in infectious disease funding, out to local jurisdictions.

Please see the hearing agenda and/or watch a recording of the hearing for further details.