September 10, 2021 Edition

Reminder: 2021 CHEAC Annual Meeting Registration Now Open!

As a reminder, registration for the 2021 CHEAC Annual Meeting is now open! This year’s conference theme is “Revitalizing Public Health: Leveraging Lessons Learned from COVID-19.” The conference will be held in an entirely virtual format from October 6 through October 8 and will feature several plenary speakers, as well as multiple breakout sessions.

CHEAC welcomes local health department executives and staff to attend this year’s conference. For additional information and registration, please visit here.

Legislature Concludes First Year of 2021-22 Legislative Session

This evening, the California Legislature reached the end of the first year of its two-year legislative session. Lawmakers spent the week in floor sessions only, working to advance measures to the desk of Governor Gavin Newsom. This week additionally featured actions on numerous budget trailer bills as part of the 2021 Budget Act.

CHEAC will be publishing a memo summarizing the end of the legislative session and providing the latest details on measures of interest to CHEAC Members and California local health departments; please stay tuned for further updates.

Newsom Administration Announces $2.75 Billion Expansion of Homekey

On Thursday, the Newsom Administration announced the next phase of the homeless housing initiative Homekey with the release of $2.75 billion in funds from the 2021 Budget Act. The funding will expand the Homekey program for the purchase and rehabilitation of buildings, including hotels, motels, vacant apartment buildings, tiny homes, and other properties, to convert them into up to 14,000 more permanent, long-term housing units for people experiencing or at risk of experiencing homelessness.

The California Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) released the latest Notice of Funding Availability for local governments to apply for Homekey funding.

Additional information from the Governor’s Office is available here.

Newsom Announces CHHS Appointments

Today, Governor Gavin Newsom announced the appointment of California Health and Human Services (CHHS) Agency Undersecretary Michelle Baass as the Director of the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS). Ms. Baass will fill the role held by outgoing DHCS Director Will Lightbourne since June 2020.

Ms. Baass has been CHHS Undersecretary since 2018 and previously served as CHHS Deputy Secretary of the Office of Program and Fiscal Affairs from 2017 to 2018. Prior to CHHS, Ms. Baass served as principal consultant at the California State Senate Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review from 2012 to 2017. Ms. Baass also have previous employment history with the Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO).

In addition to Ms. Baass’ appointment, Governor Newsom announced the appointment of Marko Mijic as CHHS Undersecretary, filling the vacancy created by Ms. Baass’ DHCS appointment. Mr. Mijic has been deputy secretary of program and fiscal affairs at CHHS since 2019, where he has served in several positions since 2015. During 2020 to 2021, Mijic was acting director of the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development. Mr. Mijic also previously worked for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Additional information about Newsom’s CHHS appointments is available here.

CDC and AmeriCorps Launch New Public Health Workforce Program

AmeriCorps, the federal agency for volunteering and national service, has launched the Public Health AmeriCorps. The new program is a partnership between the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to support the recruitment training, and development of a new generation of public health leaders.

The program is supported by a $400 million investment from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), which is anticipated to fund up to 5,000 AmeriCorps positions over the next five years.

AmeriCorps this week released the notice of federal funding, which is open to nonprofit, faith-based and community-based organizations, higher education institutions, state, local, and territorial government entities. The funding availability is open for 60 days from the announcement.

Additional information about the CDC and AmeriCorps partnership is available here.

Biden Lays Out Six-Point Plan on COVID-19

Through a combination of actions, President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. this week laid a six-point plan for a comprehensive, national strategy to address the COVID-19 pandemic. The president’s plan includes:

  1. Vaccinating the Unvaccinated
  2. Further Protecting the Unvaccinated
  3. Keeping Schools Safely Open
  4. Increasing Testing & Requiring Masking
  5. Protecting Our Economic Recovery
  6. Improving Care for those with COVID-19

As a part of the federal administration’s strategy, President Biden has directed the Department of Labor’s (DOL) Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to develop a rule that will require all employers with 100 or more employees to ensure their workforce is fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Any employees who remain unvaccinated will be required to produce a negative test result on at least a weekly basis before returning to work. OSHA will issue an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) to implement this requirement, which will impact over 80 million workers in private sector businesses with over 100 employees.

President Biden is taking additional actions, including by requiring COVID-19 vaccinations among federal employees and facilities receiving Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) reimbursements, to address the COVID-19 pandemic.

Additional information on the President’s six-step COVID-19 plan is available here.

Biden Administration Seeks $65 Billion for Pandemic Preparedness

This week, the Biden-Harris Administration announced a new updated pandemic preparedness plan that seeks to authorize $65 billion for pandemic preparedness activities. The full plan lays out five key areas necessary to prevent the U.S. from biological threats. The Administration’s plan includes the following:

  1. Transforming Medical Defenses
  2. Ensuring Situational Awareness
  3. Strengthening Public Health Systems
  4. Building Core Capabilities
  5. Managing the COVID-19 Pandemic Mission

Additional information from the Biden-Harris Administration is available here.

Governor Issues State of Emergency in Lake County Due to Fires

Governor Gavin Newsom this week proclaimed a state of emergency in Lake County to support the response to the Cache Fire, which destroyed multiple homes and structures.

The Lake County proclamation follows several state of emergencies due to wildfires in multiple counties statewide.

Additional information from the Governor’s Office is available here.