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A Moment to Reflect on Our Successes, But Many Pressing Issues Remain

With the 2019-2020 legislative session behind us, it’s time to breathe a brief sigh of relief. We can — and should — take a moment to relish the accomplishments over the past months, and in the recently concluded legislative session:

  1. Ongoing public safety power shutoff (PSPS) work with Hospital Council, CHA, and PG&E began earlier this year to address the challenges our members and communities faced during PSPS in 2019 and better prepare for a better 2020 season. At a recent webinar, participants were able to hear directly from PG&E experts to learn important procedural details and get emergency contact information specific to their hospitals. See story below for details of the on-demand recording.
  2. Nine Hospital Council hospitals have been impacted this week by the first PSPS event and all nine were able to implement the power plans designed in partnership with their respective hospital, PG&E and Hospital Council.
  3. Senate Bill (SB) 977, which would have expanded the Attorney General’s power to approve or reject hospital affiliations and mergers, was not taken up by the Assembly. Its defeat protects hospitals’ flexibility, which fosters access to care and helps keep costs in check.
  4. CHA’s advocacy efforts led to the passage of Assembly Bill (AB) 890, which expands a nurse practitioner’s scope of practice. AB 890 will increase access to care for millions of Californians by authorizing nurse practitioners who meet certain requirements to practice to the full extent of their training and without physician supervision in certain environments. AB 890 is now awaiting the Governor’s signature.
  5. Earlier this year, CHA stopped a budget proposal to implement a managed care rate reduction that would have cut Medi-Cal payments to hospitals by as much as $500 million per year once fully implemented.

But now is not the time to rest on our laurels. Lots of pressing issues remain, including SB 977, which will likely be back in the next legislative session, as well as another go-around on the extension of the 2030 seismic mandate. And while much of the past few months have been focused on COVID-19 and legislation, the remaining few months of the year are sure to bring new challenges as well as priorities. As we refocus for the remainder of 2020, here are three questions that we’ll want to get your feedback on at section meetings between now and the end of the year.

  1. We have been involved together over the last several months addressing the significant impact of COVID-19 on California hospitals.  What unexpected or lingering impacts will COVID-19 have on your organization and your ability to deliver care that we should be aware of as we think about future policy?
  2. Has COVID-19 rearranged any of your priorities or moved new issues to the top of your list?
  3. As always, we’ve got you covered on any number of issues affecting hospitals. What emerging public policy issues do you see that we need to consider and be prepared to address?

We’re also adding more firepower in our efforts to support our members in the form of a new Regional Vice President. On Oct. 4, Meghan Hardin will join the Hospital Council team. Over the past 13 years, Meghan has supported efforts to bring value-based health insurance to the state of California, partnered with hospitals across the country to understand and optimize clinical outcomes, streamlined patient experience surveys, implemented Epic outpatient, and most recently led through outpatient care delivery during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Meghan holds an MBA from the University of San Francisco and is a Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives who also enjoys swimming competitively and attempting to crack the healthy/delicious balance of food for children. There are still details to be worked out, but we’ll keep you posted as they become available and we’ll introduce Meghan to all of you in the coming weeks. In the meantime, please join me in welcoming Meghan to Hospital Council.  

In a year that has truly been unlike any other in recent memory and as exhausting as an ultramarathon with no finish line it could be easy to lose sight of what matters. Whether it’s clearing your hospitals because of COVID-19 or clearing your hospitals because of a wildfire, time and time again you have answered the call, no matter the circumstances.

We’re proud to be your partner and advocates in taking care of all Californians in all ways.