Hospital Council members receive Council Connect,
our electronic newsletter that shares everything we’re
working on for you.
In articles as diverse as our membership — from rural
to urban, and Sierra to sea — we spotlight the
individuals and institutions who are moving the ball forward,
while also sharing news on new ideas and innovative approaches
from our endorsed business partners.
On March 6, Hospital Council convened a call with health
officers and health systems in Sacramento and Placer counties to
address the community’s response to COVID-19. For more
information, contact Brian Jensen at email@example.com.
On March 5, Hospital Council convened Alameda and
Contra Costa County community benefit leaders to plan for a
roll-out of the community health needs assessment and hospital
community benefit plans. Meetings with county supervisors
will take place in early summer; Hospital Council will release a
one-page summary in mid-summer. For more information, contact
Rebecca Rozen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On March 4, Hospital Council’s Santa Clara Section received
an update from Santa Clara County Deputy Health Officer George
Han, MD, on the rapidly evolving COVID-19 situation. Attendees
also heard from Barbara Glaser, senior legislative advocate at
the California Hospital Association, on 2020 legislative
priorities and the state budget. For more information, contact Jo
Coffaro at email@example.com.
On March 3, Hospital Council convened Contra Costa County
emergency department leaders for a demonstration on reviewing,
downloading, and updating their data in the county’s ambulance
patient offload time online dashboard (FirstWatch). Accuracy is
paramount, as the Contra Costa EMS Agency is submitting these
data to the state and ambulance providers have previously used
these data to argue for penalizing hospitals with excessive wait
times. For more information, contact
Rebecca Rozen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Feb. 25, Hospital Council met with newly elected San
Francisco Board Supervisor Dean Preston, who is highly focused on
housing and affordability issues. For more information, contact
Michon Coleman at email@example.com.
On Feb. 24, the San Francisco Section met to hear from San
Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott, who expressed a desire for
continued partnership with hospitals as the city works to address
homelessness and mental health issues. The section also heard
from San Francisco Health Officer Tomas Aragon, MD, who provided
an update on the city’s response to COVID-19. For more
information, contact Michon Coleman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rebecca Rozen is completing a round of introductory
meetings with new district directors for state and federal
legislators representing the East Bay. To date, meetings have
been held with new district directors, as well as staff with
state Senator Nancy Skinner
(D-Berkeley), Assemblymember Rob Bonta (D-Alameda)
and Congressman Eric Swalwell (D-CA 15th District). For more
information, contact Rebecca Rozen at email@example.com.
Last year, Hospital Council encouraged the Sacramento County
Emergency Medical Services Agency (SCEMSA) to launch the
Emergency Medical Advisory Group (EMAG). Recognizing the vital
role SCEMSA plays in the community’s health, the advisory group
helps to address staffing and performance challenges and creates
a venue for program improvement.
EMAG includes executive-level representatives from Dignity
Health, Sutter Health, UC Davis Health, and Kaiser Permanente.
After holding its two initial meetings last year, it met on
February 13 to:
Identify what data elements the local emergency medical
services (EMS) agency needs to collect and analyze to drive
quality improvement with ambulance providers and hospitals
Decide what staff resources are needed to perform current and
emerging EMS programs
Determine the budget needed to support SCEMSA so that health
care providers can advocate with policymakers on SCEMSA’s
Consider how to communicate the need for these changes to an
audience of decision-makers who are not versed in EMS
The next EMAG meeting will take place on April 9. Hospital
Council staff convenes conference calls with the EMAG’s hospital
members and their staff before and after each official meeting to
help the field stay unified in addressing issues.
A recent Hospital Council Board of Directors meeting featured a
presentation from Margot Kushel, MD, who made the compelling
case that the surge in hospitals caring for homeless patients
will not be resolved until a community’s housing balance is
right. Following that presentation, board members Gino Patrizio,
CEO, Memorial Medical Center, and Daniel Wolcott, President,
Adventist Health Lodi Memorial, decided to examine the
communities they serve through that lens. At the joint meeting of
the San Joaquin-Mother Lode and Stanislaus-Merced Sections on
February 27, attendees heard from Stanislaus County CEO Jody
Hayes and colleagues from his office and the Stanislaus Regional
Housing Authority presented on the housing side of homelessness
in their County.
The presentation described the optimal continuum of housing stock
which ascends from emergency shelters to transitional housing to
permanent supportive housing to low income/workforce housing to
market-rate rental housing to home ownership. Hayes made the
point that nearly all the public and political focus is currently
on the lower end of the spectrum – emergency shelters,
transitional housing, and permanent supportive housing. Unless
there is sufficient stock of the housing types in the
upper half of the range, there will always upward pressure on
housing prices and downward pressure squeezing low-income members
of the population into poorer housing types and onto the streets.
In the same way that health systems are increasing looking
upstream by addressing social determinants of health, communities
must look upstream in the housing supply to eventually eliminate
unsheltered homelessness. Hospitals may begin to engage even more
in this aspect of solving homelessness, in addition to providing
clinical care and coordinating discharges to appropriate
The balance of the meeting consisted of an open CEO roundtable
discussion of hospital challenges, concerns, and emerging trends
and a conversation about quality initiatives with new Hospital
Quality Institute President Robert Imhoff.
Ensuring access to behavioral health care is a priority for
hospitals across the state and is being addressed in different
ways. At its recent section meeting, Hospital Council’s
Sacramento-Sierra Section heard from Sacramento County Behavioral
Health Director Ryan Quist, MD, who spoke about the challenges
and potential solutions related to mental illness and substance
use. His vision: developing more robust outpatient programs, as
well as the ongoing expansion of crisis residential units as a
step-down destination for patients leaving a psychiatric
inpatient setting. He also shared his plan to use county funds to
incent room and board facilities to upgrade to licensed board and
care facilities that can better accommodate the mental health
care of residents.
Attendees also heard from Alicia Kurtz, MD, medical director at
Mercy San Juan Medical Center, on the California Bridge Program.
Through this program, hospitals can receive $50,000 to start
medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for opioid use disorder. In
2017, overdose deaths surpassed fatal motor vehicle collisions.
Emergency department (ED)-initiated buprenorphine, rather than
the typical ED brief intervention and referral, approximately
doubles patients’ engagement in addiction treatment. She
presented other evidence showing how MAT is in the best interests
of both patients and hospitals. As previously
shared in Council Connect, the California Bridge
Program is accepting applications through March 20.
Ignacio has been living in the same industrial alley near the Los
Angeles River for the past 20 years. Tyresha calls San
Francisco home, but has been without stable housing for more than
a decade. And while they may be hundreds of miles apart, their
lives have both been touched by health care professionals in
There are countless others like them throughout the state, and
the “Homeless Guardians” series introduces readers
to Ignacio and Tyresha — as well as the doctors,
nurses, social workers and others who have dedicated themselves
to protecting those who are experiencing homelessness. Homeless
Guardians — a special project of CHA and Our Health California —
is a chance to share stories from hospitals throughout the state,
and invite the public to learn about the quiet, compassionate,
and perpetual care that makes a real difference in people’s
lives. This four-part series was introduced in January, with
chapters focusing on Sacramento and San Diego. The third and
final chapters, which are now available, spotlight the work of
health care professionals in San Francisco and Los
Since launching the series last month, more than 6,232
page views have been generated from 4,539 unique visitors,
with the largest potion coming from mobile users — 71%. Look for
the next wave of the series in the coming weeks, which will
incorporate mayoral interviews. In the meantime, please share
the series with your friends, colleagues and social
media acquaintances so they can see for themselves the great work
that is being done.
At a time when many prefer to ignore the problem, those who work
at hospitals also choose, purposefully, to not look the other
way. Instead, they turn their time and their lives toward the
people who are often cast aside, to those who need their care the
most. This project is a way of letting the policymakers and the
public know about the work that hospitals are doing to help the
150,000 people experiencing homelessness in California, making it
the governor’s top budget and social priority.
In the past week, the extent of novel coronavirus in our state
and across the country has become more clear, and more
sobering. As with many public health issues, this one is both
highly complicated and rapidly evolving.
Responding quickly to daily information updates from federal and
state officials, hospitals statewide have mobilized to care for
their communities and protect their workers. Your associations
have also mobilized — to connect with decision makers, synthesize
information, press for needed public health policy shifts, and
advocate for you to get the resources you need.
Coordination at All Levels
We’ve been in constant contact with hospitals and health systems
that have so far been directly affected by coronavirus, making
sure local and state public health departments — as well as city,
county, state and federal lawmakers — understand their front-line
concerns and lessons already learned. More issues will arise in
the days and weeks ahead, and we’ll be stay on top of them on
your behalf. Here are some of our most recent activities:
Governor’s Emergency Declaration
In a letter to California Health and Human Services
Secretary Mark Ghaly, MD, earlier this week, we urged the
state to shift from a strategy of containment to one of
mitigation. As part of that strategy, we asked Gov. Newsom to
declare a state of emergency. On Wednesday, he issued that
declaration and included several of our requests as part of it:
allowing the California Department of Public Health to approve
suspension of health facility licensing statutes; allowing
the Emergency Medical Services Authority to approve out-of-state
medical personnel for work in California without additional
state licensure; and allowing the Department of Social
Services to permit hospitals to provide child care without a day
Subsequently, the Governor announced extending disability
benefits to health care workers who are unable to work due to
having or being exposed to COVID-19, which we requested. We
also requested a letter to health plans and insurers reminding
them of their coverage obligations to enrollees suspected or
confirmed to have COVID-19, and the Department of Managed Health
Care and Department of Insurance have since issued those
Congressional Spending Bill
We’ve also been working closely with members of the California
congressional delegation, serving as a resource for information
about what’s happening in our communities and calling for funds
to be designated for hospitals. On Wednesday, Congress passed an
$8.3 billion spending package that includes $400 million for
state grants, some of which will be available to hospitals. The
bill has now been signed by the President.
Also on Wednesday, in a meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi,
CHA President & CEO Carmela Coyle shared the impact the virus is
having on California hospitals as they prepare and respond,
acknowledging that, depending on the course this virus takes,
more funding may be needed.
To help you share information with and respond to questions from
the public, the media, staff, and your patients, we’ve retained a
top crisis communications firm. They’re developing key
messages and template materials that will be available for
hospitals next week — including general public health messaging;
website content on best practices and potential exposure; a
letter providing clarity and assurance to staff; summaries of
current protocols, use of personal protective equipment, testing,
and prevention; and communications to help if your hospital
experiences an initial case of the virus.
The crisis communications services are also available on an
as-needed basis for hospitals affected by the virus. For more
information about tapping into these consultants, contact CHA’s
Vice President, External Affairs, Jan Emerson-Shea
We know now that community transmission of novel coronavirus is
upon us — and we know you stand ready to do what’s needed to
mitigate its impact in your communities. In turn, we also
stand ready to help. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to any or
all of us for assistance or to share information.
Carmela Coyle, President & CEO, California Hospital
Bryan J. Bucklew, President & CEO, Hospital Council — Northern &
George W. Greene, President/CEO, Hospital Association of Southern
Dimitrios Alexiou, President & CEO, Hospital Association of
San Diego & Imperial Counties
The Coronavirus has elected officials, health care leaders, and
citizens from not only California, but across the country and
internationally, looking to California on how we respond to this
latest health issue — and we take comfort in knowing that our
hospitals are prepared.
That’s because the hospitals we represent work, day in and day
out, to be prepared for emergency situations — whether wildfire,
earthquake, or pandemic. Your constant vigilance means that, when
disaster strikes, you’re prepared to care for those in need. As
coronavirus spreads — patients are already in San Francisco,
Contra Costa, Solano, and Napa counties — Californians and
communities across the country will be looking to us to reassure
them and provide them with the care that need – like we always
We know that your preparation relies on support from emergency
response agencies across the state. The Hospital Council
and CHA is coordinating and collaborating with our county public
health departments, the leadership at the California Department
of Public Health (CDPH) and federal agencies like the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention. CHA is working with CDPH to
better hospitals’ preparation for patients with coronavirus, in
part by establishing a weekly phone call between CDPH and
hospitals (every Tuesday at 7:45 a.m.).
When a problem, question, or concern arises, please contact your
Hospital Council Regional Vice President or CHA; we can
consolidate and escalate them to the appropriate people,
including those at the highest levels.
We appreciate the dedication and leadership of your hospital
staff, our multiple county public health leaders, and that the
CDPH team — please do not hesitate to reach out to me either with
a phone call or text at (916) 767-3176 with your questions,
concerns, and feedback.
Your input will help us ensure you are as prepared as possible
for what’s to come.
November’s ballot promises to be yet another filled with
initiatives to challenge voters and constituency groups such as
hospitals. This week, Hospital Council and the California
Hospital Association announced their opposition to an initiative
that would significantly increase California’s Medical Injury
Compensation Reform Act (MICRA) cap of $250,000 on pain and
suffering damages in medical negligence lawsuits by taking into
account inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index.
The California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) is now
accepting applications for its Behavioral Health
Pilot Project (BHPP). General acute care hospitals are
eligible to receive $50,000 for one year to integrate trained
behavioral health counselors into emergency departments.
All general acute care hospitals that can provide
behavioral health services are highly encouraged to
apply. This funding can be used to support existing job
roles in addition to the creation of new ones.
New this year, the California Hospital Association has made the
vast majority of its education and publication resources free to
members. As a Hospital Council member, you are also a member of
CHA and have access to these materials, which include webinars,
one-day programs, and electronic publications. For more details,
On Feb. 13, SacValley MedShare hosted a board meeting to
discuss its health information exchange, which now includes more
than one million unique patients and encounters. For more
information, contact T Abraham at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Feb. 10, Street2Home hosted its first board meeting. A
joint initiative between Frenso and Madera, Street2Home seeks to
amplify the work of existing homeless service providers by
securing higher-level regional funding.
The Hospital Council Board of Directors held its first meeting of
2020 last month, kicking off the year with robust discussion of
the top issues facing hospitals in our region, including:
Working with PG&E to improve the public safety
power shutoff process. Hospital Council and the
California Hospital Association (CHA) continue to meet with
PG&E to share hospitals’ concerns about the process, and
this week sent a letter to PG&E CEO William Johnson asking
for greater support to ensure hospitals can continue to provide
the best care for Californians.
Specifically, Hospital Council and CHA asked that PG&E:
Prioritize hospitals alongside other emergency response
Provide a clear understanding of where hospitals lie on an
Share better estimates and minimize the duration of
Establish a clear timeline for improving information sharing
Schedule a direct, in-person meeting with PG&E leadership
and Hospital Council/CHA
Addressing homelessness within our
communities. January’s meeting featured a presentation
by Margot Kushel, MD, director of the University of California,
San Francisco Center for Vulnerable Populations. Dr. Kushel
spoke about the myths and realities of homelessness in our
state, highlighting hospitals’ role in caring for the homeless
and leading a discussion of what success in this area looks
Responding to the novel coronavirus outbreak.
More details are provided below, but be sure to hold Tuesdays
at 7:45 a.m. (PT) for a standing, hospitals-only conference
call with the California Department of Public Health.
As the pace of this year continues to increase, your board will
keep the issues most important to you at the forefront of all we
do, so that you can continue to do what you do best — provide
outstanding care to Californians.
As the novel coronavirus outbreak evolves, Hospital Council
encourages its members to participate in a weekly, hospital-only
phone call, to be held every Tuesday at 7:45 a.m. (PT) with the
California Department of Public Health (CDPH). The call will
share the latest information from CDPH, the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention, and other state and federal agencies on
everything from diagnostic testing to laboratory guidelines,
reporting, and more.
The next call is scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 18, at 7:45 a.m. We
hope your teams take advantage of this opportunity to hear the
most up-to-the-minute information from CDPH, to submit questions
anonymously, and to learn what other hospitals are experiencing.
The California Hospital Association (CHA) has established a
page to serve as a repository of information after these
calls, as well as for other updates and available resources.
The Assembly and Senate Health committees held a joint
informational hearing Jan. 28 about hospital seismic safety and
the 2030 requirement to be fully operational after an earthquake
event. The hearing provided an opportunity to raise awareness
among lawmakers about the 2030 mandate for hospitals, as well as
for representatives from hospitals in different parts of the
state to testify about hospital preparedness and the impact of
the 2030 requirement.
Three hospital leaders shared their specific stories — Kelly
Mather, CEO, Sonoma Valley District Hospital in Sonoma; Jed Rudd,
director of Ancillary Services and Safety, Mad River Community
Hospital in Arcata; and Craig Wagoner, CEO, Community Regional &
Clovis Community Medical Centers in Fresno. Each explained how
the 2030 requirement would affect their hospital and their
community, with a common theme of facing difficult decisions.
Hospital Council will host its annual Leadership Summit on Nov.
15-16 at the Meritage Resort and Spa in Napa. New this year,
Hospital Council is partnering with the Hospital Quality
Institute to provide members a robust program with information
for not only hospital leadership, but also quality and patient
safety professionals. The event will open with an evening
reception for members, followed by morning sessions devoted to
C-suite executives and afternoon sessions specific to quality and
patient safety. More details will be available soon.
New this year, the California Hospital Association has made the
vast majority of its education and publication
resources free to members. As a Hospital Council member, you
are also a member of CHA and have access to these materials,
which include webinars, one-day programs, and electronic
On Feb. 7, Hospital Council met with David Stockwell, director of the Veterans Association Northern California Health Care System, to work toward building collaborative relationships that will improve access for veterans in the north state while ensuring that hospitals are reimbursed for their services. For more information, contact T Abraham at email@example.com.
On Feb. 6, the Sonoma County Behavioral Health Collaborative met to discuss changes in county leadership as well as possible homelessness and behavioral health initiatives that may impact hospitals. For more information, contact T Abraham at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Feb. 5, the Hospital Council East Bay Section held its first membership meeting of the year. The meeting started with a best practice presentation from Stanford Health Care-ValleyCare on recent fall prevention work in its skilled-nursing facility, which brought the number of falls down to zero. The section then approved the 2020 East Bay Section Advocacy Plan and CHPAC goals, had a robust discussion on behavioral health strategies in each of the section’s counties, and received an update on Hospital Council advocacy with PG&E. For more information, contact Rebecca Rozen at email@example.com.
On Jan. 31, hospital leaders in the Monterey Bay Section met with Assemblymember Robert Rivas (D-Hollister) to discuss issues related to patient access and health care affordability. Also discussed: the impact of 2030 seismic mandates on their facilities, the need for behavioral health services in the community, and partnerships with education to address local workforce challenges. For more information, contact Jo Coffaro at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Jan. 28, Hospital Council submitted a letter of support for a referral set forth by Supervisor Joe Simitian, Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors, that would explore options for a subsidized medication pilot program to improve availability and distribution of certain medications for low-income residents of Santa Clara County. For more information, contact Jo Coffaro at email@example.com.
On Jan. 22, Hospital Council hosted section meetings for the Fresno/Madera/Tulare/Kings Section and the Kern/Eastern Sierras Section. The meetings covered training development from the Fresno Workforce Development Board, economic impact reports, and LEAD Academy presentations. For more information, contact David Bacci at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Jan. 22, Hospital Council attended San Francisco’s Emergency Medical Services Advisory Committee meeting to share how the association works on members’ behalf and identify opportunities for future collaboration with EMS, police, fire, and the San Francisco Department of Public Health. For more information, contact Michon Coleman at email@example.com.
On Jan. 16, Hospital Council met with American Ambulance to discuss its new policy to use restrains when transferring any patient under a 5150 hold. Fresno and Tulare counties oppose this policy. For more information, contact David Bacci at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Jan. 15, the Nursing Leadership Coalition of the Central San Joaquin Valley — the Fresno area’s local chapter of the Association of California Nurse Leaders met to discuss compliance with nurse staffing ratio laws. The group also heard from BJ Bartleson, California Hospital Association vice president, nursing and clinical services, who provided an update on recent legislation. For more information, contact David Bacci at email@example.com.
Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) has informed Hospital Council
that it does not anticipate holding public safety power shutoff
(PSPS) events in the winter months. PG&E will continue to
monitor weather conditions, anticipating that PSPS events may
once again be necessary closer to the spring/summer months. In
the interim, Hospital Council will continue to work with PG&E
to resolve issues hospitals raised in the recent spate of PSPS
events, to mitigate unexpected consequences from any future
The national debate surrounding federal immigration policies
provides an important opportunity for California hospitals to
reinforce the bond they have with local communities. All
Californians should know that, regardless of their immigration
status, they should feel safe seeking care. To help hospitals
spread that message in their communities, the California Hospital
Association has developed a toolkit of materials, including
Yesterday, the California Hospital Association issued an Advocacy Alert calling upon hospital leaders to
reach out to their members of Congress and ask them to urge their
leadership to oppose a benchmark rate as a way of addressing
surprise medical billing. It is critical that hospital leaders
reach out to their senators and representatives to remind them:
Hospitals support protecting patients from out-of-network
surprise emergency bills.
Benchmark rates will cause unnecessary, massive disruption of
the private health care markets.
Benchmark rates do not provide financial protections for
More details, including contact information for your
representatives, is available in the alert.
Earlier this month, the California Emergency Medical Services
Authority (EMSA), in partnership with the California Department
of Public Health (CDPH), released a far-reaching report that aims
to revamp disaster preparedness and response across the state.
Titled the California Patient Movement Plan, it summarizes
state and federal patient movement and tracking capabilities and
includes recommendations to:
Streamline communication at all levels
Enhance patient movement coordination functions across
operational areas, regions, and statewide
Develop tools to improve efficiency, such as standardized
patient movement resource request forms and the California
Unified Patient Tracking System
Last week, the Senate Energy, Utilities and Communications
Committee conducted an oversight hearing to address the recent
spate of public safety power shutoff (PSPS) events, during which
utilities intentionally cut power to certain areas due to a
heightened risk of weather-related wildfires.
The hearing included an overview from the Legislative Analyst’s
Office (LAO), which covered the history of PSPS authority and
guidance, the state’s role in PSPS events, steps the
utilities must take to mitigate impacts on vulnerable
populations, and support for PSPS events in the 2019-20 budget.
Behavioral health care is one of the most pressing issues for
California and continues to be discussed across the state.
Hospital Council is participating in many of these conversations,
representing the hospital perspective. Highlights of the work
being done across Hospital Council’s regions include:
The Hospital Council — Northern & Central California held its
third annual Healthcare Administrative Professional’s Conference
on Oct. 25 in Lafayette, Calif. This year 102 people attended the
conference, its largest audience to date.
Jeanne McAuliffe, Hospital Council executive coordinator, opened
the conference, followed by Bryan Bucklew, Hospital Council
President & CEO, who spoke about why the executive assistant role
is so critical to the California Hospital Association and the
California Assemblymember Vince Fong (R-Bakersfield) urged
hospital leaders to become involved with their state legislators,
telling attendees at the annual fall California Hospital
Association Political Action Committee (CHPAC) Presidents Club
event that elected officials need their expertise and input.
Fong was the featured guest at the event, which was held Nov. 5
At the Hospital Quality Institute’s (HQI) annual conference,
Santa Clara Valley Medical Center (SCVMC) was honored with the
2019 C. Duane Dauner Award, which recognizes outstanding
achievement in patient safety, quality improvement, and patient
experience. SCVMC won for developing a program to safely
discharge certain individuals experiencing homelessness.
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