LAO Issues Report on CDPH COVID-19 Response

This afternoon, the California Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) issued a report describing how COVID-19 spending is reflected in the California Department of Public Health’s (CDPH) budget. The LAO report provides information on CDPH’s COVID-19 spending, as well as funding that has flowed through CDPH’s budget to California’s 61 local health departments to support local response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The LAO provides an overview of FY 2020-21 activities related to COVID-19 response and indicates the Governor’s FY 2021-22 Budget Proposal did not include a specific plan or strategy within CDPH for COVID-19-related spending. The LAO raises a series of questions around how the Newsom Administration plans to fund and manage vaccination efforts at the state and local levels, how to fund and manage expanded testing efforts such as testing for K-12 teachers and students, and how to spend potential future federal funds. In its report, the LAO indicates augmentations to CDPH’s budget primarily concern state COVID-19 testing activities, including for the continued operation of the state’s Valencia Branch Laboratory (VBL).

Further, the LAO’s report provides a framework for evaluating midyear and budget-year proposals and actions related to COVID-19 within CDPH’s budget and offers key public health issues for legislative consideration during the COVID-19 recovery process. Among the considerations raised by the LAO is the state’s overall public health infrastructure needs, as well as the need for an after-action report to the COVID-19 pandemic detailing the challenges and lessons learned by public health during the public health emergency. Notably, the LAO acknowledges CHEAC’s sponsored bill AB 240 (Rodriguez) to assess the local public health infrastructure.

The full LAO report is available here.