Senate, Assembly Consider CDPH and Health Care Access Investments

This week, the Senate Budget & Fiscal Review Subcommittee No. 3 and Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 1 considered key public health- and health-related investments proposed by the Newsom Administration. Below, we detail these hearings:

Senate Sub. 3 Considers CDPH Investments, Including for Public Health Infrastructure and Workforce

Today, the Senate Budget & Fiscal Review Subcommittee No. 3 on Health and Human Services convened a hearing to assess budget investment proposals under the jurisdiction of the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), including the Governor’s January Budget proposal to provide $300 million ongoing to state and local health departments.

A considerable portion of today’s hearing was dedicated to the “Foundation for the Future of Public Health,” which featured a background on the historic underinvestment of public health in California and persistent public health staffing challenges statewide. CDPH Director and State Public Health Officer Dr. Tomás Aragón and other CDPH representatives presented the Newsom Administration’s proposal to provide $200 million to local health jurisdictions and $100 million for CDPH for critical public health workforce and infrastructure.

The state’s portion of the $300 million investment is anticipated to support over 400 positions at the state level across workforce development, emergency preparedness and response, information technology and data science, communications and public education, community partnerships, and community health improvement efforts.

The agenda item featured a stakeholder response panel, consisting of CHEAC Executive Director Michelle Gibbons and SEIU California Government Relations Advocate Matt Lege, as well as representatives from the California Pan-Ethnic Health Network (CPHEN) and the Public Health Institute. Ms. Gibbons, during her remarks to the subcommittee, expressed CHEAC’s support for the Governor’s $300 million proposal for state and local public health. She highlighted the importance of the investment to enable state and local health departments to begin to rebuild the decimated public health workforce in protecting and promoting the health of California communities. Ms. Gibbons also called attention to the California Can’t Wait Coalition’s budget requests for one-time investments in critical public health training and workforce pipeline investments.

Following the panel’s comments, Subcommittee No. 3 Chair Senator Susan Talamantes Eggman underscored the importance of investing in public health infrastructure and workforce. Senator Richard Pan similarly discussed the historic underinvestment of public health in California, the traumatic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on public health professionals, and workforce development opportunities and supports for existing public health workers. Dr. Pan also raised the potential of leveraging lessons learned from the 2020 Census in public health-related community-based messaging and partnerships.

Additional items considered by Subcommittee No. 3 included investment proposals for climate and health surveillance, public health regional climate planning, the Alzheimer’s Healthy Brain Initiative, opioid public awareness and surveillance, home visiting expansion, and Black Infant Health (BIH) program expansion, among others. CHEAC provided comments and expressed support for numerous investment proposals covered by the Subcommittee during today’s hearing.

All items were held open by the Subcommittee for action at a later date. The agenda from today’s hearing is available here. A video recording of the hearing is available here.

Assembly Sub. 1 Assesses Health Care Access Budget Investments

On Monday, the Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 1 on Health and Human Services convened a hearing to consider a series of investments related to health care access. The bulk of the items considered by the Subcommittee fell under the jurisdiction of the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS).

The Subcommittee received presentations on the considered budget items from representatives of DHCS, including DHCS Director Michelle Baass and State Medicaid Director Jacey Cooper. Of note, the Subcommittee considered the Newsom Administration’s proposal to expand full-scope Medi-Cal to all income-eligible adults ages 26-49 years old regardless of immigration status, as well as a proposal to add HPV vaccine coverage in the Family PACT Program.

DHCS also presented its proposal to sunset the Child Health and Disability Prevention (CHDP) Program. During the hearing, Subcommittee Chair Assembly Member Joaquin Arambula raised a series of questions of the Department regarding how its proposal would impact children, as well as local operations of the program. CHEAC, in its letter submitted to the Subcommittee last week, expressed opposition to the Administration’s proposal out of concerns for potential impacts on vulnerable children and local health department program operations.

All items during the hearing were held open for action at a later date. The full agenda from the Subcommittee No. 1 hearing is available here. A video recording of the hearing is available here.