CHEAC Legislative Committee Reviews Bills, Includes CHEAC-Sponsored STD Navigation Services Measure

Last Friday, March 6, 2020, the CHEAC Legislative Committee met for its second in-person meeting in Sacramento to review and discuss the remaining batch of newly introduced bills in the second part of the 2019-20 Legislative Session. During the meeting, the CHEAC Legislative Committee identified an additional 35 legislative bills of interest to local health departments and public health. These measures have now been added to the CHEAC Weekly Bill Chart, which is available here. Below, we detail several of those measures.

Communicable Disease Control

AB 3224 (Rodriguez) as introduced February 21, 2020 – SUPPORT

AB 3224 by Assembly Member Freddie Rodriguez is CHEAC’s sponsored measure to establish a statewide program, to be administered by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), to support local health departments in providing STD navigation services to individuals experiencing reinfections of syphilis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea or complex cases of STDs. Navigation services include, but are not limited to, assessing the health and social needs of clients, identifying and resolving risk factors and obstacles to care, and coordinating referrals and connections to health and social services including behavioral health services, housing, homeless assistance, and harm reduction counseling and services.

CHEAC’s bill is associated with our sponsored budget ask for $20 million General Fund ongoing to support these services at the local level. CHEAC’s budget request was heard this week in the Senate Budget & Fiscal Review Subcommittee No. 3 on Health and Human Services.

Chronic Disease Prevention and Wellness Promotion

AB 3118 (Bonta) as introduced February 21, 2020 – SUPPORT

AB 3118 by Assembly Member Rob Bonta would add medically supportive food and nutrition services, including health food boxes or groceries, nutrition education, and linkages to community-based food services and application assistance to CalFresh and WIC, as a covered benefit to the Medi-Cal program. These services would be added to the extent funds are made available in the annual budget act. Recall, the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) is currently operating the Medically Tailored Meals (MTM) Pilot Program in 10 counties for individuals with specified chronic disease conditions which provides individuals with similar nutrition related services. Additionally, the Newsom Administration’s CalAIM proposal also includes medically tailored meals in its in lieu-of services (ILOS) component.

Health Coverage/Health Care Reform

AB 2817 (Wood) as amended March 2, 2020 – WATCH

Assembly Member Jim Wood’s AB 2817 would establish the Office of Health Care Quality and Affordability, an independent state agency charged with analyzing the health care market for cost trends and drivers of spending. The Office would also develop data-informed policies for lowering health care costs for consumers, create a statewide strategy for controlling the cost of health care, and ensure affordability for consumers. Assembly Member Wood’s proposal differs from that proposed by Governor Gavin Newsom in his January Budget to establish an Office of Health Care Affordability.