July 7, 2017 Edition

Legislative Deadlines Quickly Approaching

Despite the shortened week due to the Independence Day holiday, the Legislature continued a busy schedule of policy committee hearings. Just one week remains for policy committees to pass all fiscal-related bills, and non-fiscal bills have two weeks to be passed from policy committees.

We highlight several items of interest to CHEAC Members below. Our full bill chart for this week is available here.

Local Health Department Administration

AB 1250 (Jones-Sawyer) as amended on 6/21/17 – Oppose

The hearing for Assembly Member Reginald Jones-Sawyer’s AB 1250 was pushed back one week to Wednesday, July 12 at 9:30 am. The measure would place onerous requirements on county contracting, including many of the contracts into which local health departments enter for vital public health services.

As a result of the hearing being rescheduled, the bill will not be double-referred to a second policy committee as previously anticipated. A number of amendments may be under consideration, but no additional details are available at this time. CHEAC remains a part of a large coalition of organizations led by the California State Association of Counties (CSAC), including over 100 partners and 40 counties, in opposing this measure.

Alcohol & Drug Services

AB 40 (Santiago) as amended 7/5/17 – Support

Assembly Member Miguel Santiago’s AB 40 was passed from the Senate Business, Professions, and Economic Development Committee to the Senate Judiciary Committee this week. The measure would allow the CURES database to integrate with other health information technology systems. Amendments were made this week to address privacy concerns and modify administrative requirements between the Department of Justice and health care facilities. CHEAC supports this measure as a modest, but important step in addressing the rising opioid epidemic.

AB 186 (Eggman) as amended 3/23/17 – Watch

AB 186 by Assembly Member Susan Talamantes Eggman was heard in the Senate Health Committee this week. The measure permits specified counties or cities within the specified counties to authorize a supervised injection facility within their jurisdiction for those who consume intravenous drugs. The bill delineates site requirements and provides prosecutorial immunity for those involved in the operation and use of the site. Currently, there are no cities, counties, or states in the U.S. that operate an identical safer drug consumption program as this measure proposes, but the concept is beginning to gain traction in some U.S. cities to address rising overdose deaths.  AB 186 will be heard in the Senate Public Safety Committee next week.

Health Care Coverage

AB 391 (Chiu) as amended 6/19/17 – Support

Assembly Member David Chiu’s AB 391 was passed from the Senate Health Committee to the Senate Appropriations Committee this week. The measure would require DHCS to seek a state plan amendment to add patient asthma education and environmental asthma trigger assessments for individuals with poorly controlled asthma as a Medi-Cal allowable service if provided by a qualified asthma service provider.

Maternal & Child Health

AB 1316 (Quirk) as amended on 7/3/17 – Watch

AB 1316 by Assembly Member Bill Quirk was heard in the Senate Environmental Quality Committee this week. The measure would require the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) to establish regulations by January 2019 that include a risk assessment for determining the most significant factors of whether a child is at risk of elevated blood levels. AB 1316 was amended this week to also require CDPH to prepare and post online an annual report that evaluates the progress in identifying children with high blood lead levels and reducing the incidence of excessive childhood lead exposure. The measure will next be heard in the Senate Appropriations Committee.

CalOHII Releases State Health Information Guidance

The California Office of Health Information Integrity (CalOHII) recently released State Health Information Guidance (SHIG) on sharing sensitive health information. SHIG provides information on when, where, and why mental health and substance use disorder information can be exchanged and provides clarification of relevant state and federal laws. This guidance will provide counties necessary information to enhance data sharing among providers, care coordinators, social services, law enforcement, and payers.

CalOHII is offering two informational webinars in July to explain how the SHIG can be implemented across your organization. More information on the SHIG and upcoming webinars is available here. Individuals may also contact CalOHII at SHIGinformation@ohi.ca.gov.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Names CDC Director

Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, M.D., appointed Brenda Fitzgerald, M.D., as the next Director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Administrator of the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). Fitzgerald has been the commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Health and state officer for the past six years. In her role as health commissioner, she has directed over 159 county health departments throughout Georgia and overseen the state’s various public health programs focused on language development among newborns, obesity prevention, and Ebola response coordination efforts. Fitzgerald is also currently the president-elect of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO).

As a board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist by training, Fitzgerald has practiced medicine for three decades, as well as served a major in the U.S. Air Force, a health care policy advisor to Members of Congress, and a senior fellow and chairperson of the Board of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation.  The full announcement from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is available here.

CDC, National Academies Detail Status of U.S. Opioid Epidemic

This week, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a report revealing the amount of opioids prescribed in the U.S. peaked in 2010 and then decreased each year through 2015. However, the CDC notes providers are still prescribing opioids too often and for longer periods of time, increasing the risk of addiction, overdose, and death. Opioid prescribing varies widely from county to county with six times more opioids being prescribed in the highest-prescribing counties compared to the lowest-prescribing counties. The CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) is available here. Information on opioid prescribing, including fact sheets and additional resources, is available here.

Additionally, the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) Health and Medicine Division will be releasing a report entitled Pain Management and the Opioid Epidemic next week. At the request of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), NASEM appointed a committee of experts to examine the opioid epidemic and identify actions to respond to the crisis. NASEM will be holding a report release webinar on next Thursday, July 13 from 9:00 am-10:00 am. More information on the webinar and report are available here.

Upcoming Hospital-Community Partnership Webinar Series

Moving Health Care Upstream and ChangeLab Solutions will be holding a free, two-part webinar series about realistic, innovative local and institutional policy strategies that hospital and community-based entities can use to address root causes of asthma and food insecurity. Information on proven tools, templates, and guidance that can be used to determine the most effective community-based policy strategies will be provided.

Webinar #1: Hospital-Community Partnerships: Using Local & Institutional Policy to Address Root Causes of Asthma

Date/Time: Tuesday, July 18, 2017, from 10:00 am-11:00 am PST

Register Here

Webinar #2: Hospital-Community Partnerships: Using Local & Institutional Policy to Address Root Causes of Food Insecurity

Date/Time: Tuesday, July 25, 2017, from 10:00 am-11:00 am PST

Register Here

More information on the webinars and Moving Health Care Upstream’s policy resources are available here.