June 28, 2019 Edition

CHEAC Office Closed Next Thursday

The CHEAC Office will be closed on Thursday, July 4 in observance of the Independence Day holiday. CHEAC Staff wishes all a safe and enjoyable holiday!

2019 CHEAC Annual Meeting Registration Now Open!

Registration for the 2019 CHEAC Annual Meeting is now open! This year’s annual meeting will be held from October 9 – October 11 at the Westin Pasadena and will provide local health department professionals representing a wide variety of disciplines throughout California with networking and learning opportunities.

We are pleased to once again offer expanded keynote sessions with guest speakers and a myriad of workshops intended to stimulate best practice sharing and discussions around shared issues in the field. Stay tuned for forthcoming announcements on key speakers!

Early bird registration will be offered through July 31 and registration will close on September 1. Local health department leadership and staff are strongly encouraged to register as soon as possible. More information on this year’s CHEAC Annual Meeting, including registration and room reservations, is available here.

Governor Newsom and Legislative Leaders Announce Agreement on Outstanding Budget Items, Newsom Signs 2019-20 Budget Act

On Thursday – the deadline for Governor Gavin Newsom to sign the 2019-20 Budget Act into law – Governor Newsom, Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins, and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon announced they had reached a final agreement on the budget and accompanying legislation. Earlier in the week, Governor Newsom had indicated reluctance to sign the budget until a deal was reached on housing and homelessness issues.

After extensive negotiations between the Newsom Administration and legislative leaders this week, the agreed-upon proposal is slated to provide substantial support for housing and homelessness programs, incentives for local governments to adopt pro-housing approaches, and a mechanism to encourage local governments to comply with housing element laws.

In summary, the housing omnibus measure (AB 101/SB 102) is slated to provide a total of $650 million – $175 million to counties, $275 million to California’s 13 largest cities, and $190 million to Continuum of Care (COC) entities – for homelessness services. Investments into housing programs include over $1.75 billion to be allocated to local housing planning, infill infrastructure, and low-income and mix-income housing development loans. Additional incentives for housing development are proposed to be available to local jurisdictions. Those jurisdictions not complying with housing element law are subject to penalties ranging from $10,000 to $600,000 per month. The Legislature is expected to act upon the housing omnibus measure next week.

In signing the $214.8 billion budget, Governor Newsom touted his Administration’s approach to building a strong fiscal foundation and making progress toward “combatting the affordability crisis” faced by residents throughout the state. Governor Newsom, in an announcement, noted investments in health and public health, housing and homelessness, paid family leave, early childcare and education, and emergency preparedness.

Governor Newsom also signed a number of budget trailer bills, including those related to health, mental health, and human services. A statement from Governor Newsom detailing key investments through the 2019-20 Budget Act, as well as a listing of budget trailer bills signed into law, is available here.

Policy Committees Face Looming Deadline Prior to Summer Recess

The California Legislature this week continued with a steady pace of bill negotiations and amendments and policy committee hearings, facing a looming deadline in two weeks for fiscal and non-fiscal bills to be heard in second house policy committees. Facing an abbreviated timeline next week due to the Independence Day holiday, policy committee hearing agendas have become considerably lengthy as lawmakers aim to advance bills prior to departing on their month-long summer recess set to begin on July 12.

Below, we highlight actions on several bills of interest from this week. For a full update, the CHEAC Weekly Bill Chart is available here.

Communicable Disease Control

AB 1416 (Cooley) as amended May 6, 2019 – SUPPORT

AB 1416 by Assembly Member Ken Cooley would expand exemptions in the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 to allow government agencies to access consumer personal information from businesses for the purpose of carrying out governmental functions. The California State Association of Counties (CSAC) is sponsoring the measure. CHEAC is now supporting the measure to ensure local health departments and local health officers are able to access information necessary to conducting communicable disease investigation and control activities. AB 1416 is set for hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee on July 9.

SB 159 (Wiener) as amended May 17, 2019 – SUPPORT  

Senator Scott Wiener’s SB 159 was heard in the Assembly Business and Professions Committee on Tuesday. SB 159 would allow pharmacists to furnish PrEP and PEP to patients without a physician’s prescription if the pharmacist has completed specified training and screens the patient, provides counseling to the patient, documents services in the patient’s health record, and notifies the patient’s primary care provider. Health plans and insurers would also be prohibited from placing prior authorization or step therapy requirements on antiretroviral medications, including PrEP and PEP. SB 159 was advanced on a 17-0 vote with two members not voting. The measure will next be heard in the Assembly Health Committee on July 9.

Health Coverage/Health Care Reform

AB 50 (Kalra) as amended April 25, 2019 – SUPPORT

AB 50 by Assembly Member Ash Kalra would require the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) to submit to the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) an amendment request for the Assisted Living Waiver Program to increase slots to 18,500 and to start a process to expand the program on a regional basis beyond the existing 15 participating counties. DHCS would also be required to establish requirements and procedures for waiting list processes. AB 50 was advanced from the Senate Health Committee on Wednesday on an 8-0 vote with one member not voting. The measure will be heard in the Senate Appropriations Committee on July 8.

AB 848 (Gray) as revised May 16, 2019 – SUPPORT

Adam Gray’s AB 848 was heard in the Senate Appropriations Committee on Monday. The measure would add continuous glucose monitors and related supplies to the schedule of Medi-Cal benefits for diabetes mellitus treatment when medically necessary. AB 848 was placed on the Senate Appropriations Committee Suspense File where it will be acted upon at a later date.

Maternal, Child, and Adolescent Health Services (MCAH)

SB 464 (Mitchell) as amended June 27, 2019 – SUPPORT

SB 464 by Senator Holly Mitchell was heard in the Assembly Health committee on Tuesday. The measure would require specified health facilities providing perinatal care to implement an evidence-based implicit bias program for all healthcare providers involved in perinatal care within those facilities. Hospitals would also be required to provide patients with information on filing a discrimination complaint. The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) would also be required to track and publish specified maternal morbidity and mortality data. SB 464 was unanimously advanced from the Assembly Health Committee to the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Tobacco Control

SB 8 (Glazer) as introduced December 3, 2018 – SUPPORT

Senator Glazer’s SB 8 was heard in the Senate Appropriations Committee on Monday. SB 8 would prohibit the smoking and disposal of all cigar and cigarette waste at all state coastal beaches and in state parks. SB 8 was placed on the Senate Appropriations Committee Suspense File where it will be acted upon at a later date.

Vector Control

AB 320 (Quirk) as amended May 16, 2019 – SUPPORT

AB 320 by Assembly Member Bill Quirk was heard in the Senate Health Committee on Wednesday. The measure would, to the extent funding is provided, establish the California Mosquito Surveillance and Research Program at the University of California, Davis to maintain an interactive website for the management and dissemination of mosquito-borne virus and surveillance control data, provide confirmation of tests conducted by local or state agencies, and coordinate with the Mosquito and Vector Control Association of California, CDPH, local mosquito abatement and vector control districts, and other affected stakeholders. AB 320 was advanced to the Senate Education Committee on an 8-0 vote with one member not voting.

Newsom Appoints New CDSS Director

On Thursday, Governor Gavin Newsom appointed Kimberley Johnson as director of the California Department of Social Services (CDSS). Johnson served as deputy director of the Family Engagement and Empowerment Division at CDSS from 2018 to 2019, branch chief of CalWORKs and Child Care from 2017 to 2018, and branch chief of Child Care and Refugee Programs from 2015 to 2017. Johnson also previously served in other roles at nonprofit and educational settings, including as program director at the Children’s Network of Solano County. The position requires confirmation by the California State Senate.

Trump Issues Executive Order on Health Care Cost Transparency

On Monday, President Donald Trump signed an executive order on health care price transparency, seeking to require health insurance companies, providers, and hospitals to give patients more information on the cost of health services before utilizing them.

The executive order directs the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, among other agencies, to propose regulations and conduct a rulemaking process around the disclosure of health care pricing in an “easy-to understand, consumer-friendly” format. Among other requirements of the order is a directive to specified federal agencies to develop a “Health Quality Roadmap” that aims to align and improve data and quality measure reporting across health systems and a directive to the federal government to issue guidance on the expansion of high-deductible health plans.

The Trump Administration contends provisions included in this week’s executive order will empower patients to shop around for health services and, in turn, result in market forces that decrease health care costs. However, several health policy experts, hospital and provider groups, and economists have expressed skepticism that disclosing negotiated and proprietary health care rates will drive prices lower for U.S. consumers. While greater price transparency makes sense from a consumer protection standpoint, some experts argue price transparency has not resulted in material savings or shopping advantages for consumers.

Pursuant to the executive order, federal agencies will soon begin undertaking regulatory and rulemaking actions as directed by President Trump. The executive order is available here.