CEO Message

CEO Message: Unprecedented Times Call for Unprecedented Measures

The COVID-19 pandemic has resurrected many well-worn aphorisms: “New normal,” “Unlike anything we’ve seen before,” “Once-in-a-lifetime crisis.” 

These phrases can help us make sense of circumstances and events that have been challenging to cope with and even more difficult to recover from. Of course, they do little to help where it’s needed most. 

Hospitals’ toll has been heavy — preparing for a massive surge of potential patients by suspending surgeries and other procedures, while at the same time investing in new space, protective equipment, and medical supplies has gutted the resources you rely on to provide care in your communities. 

While the path to long-term recovery may be murky, we know it starts with financial support that will at least begin to provide some stability as hospitals — and California’s entire health care system — reset what they know about how health care is regulated, provided, and paid for. 

Right now, with federal dollars barely trickling to California, any sense of stability is far off. California hospitals have received $3 billion from federal aid packages — which focused on Medicare providers, hot spots, and rural hospitals. This all acted to disadvantage California compared to other states as we have a smaller share of Medicare patients, flattened the curve to avoid COVID-19 spread, and have far fewer rural areas than other states. This is well short of the nearly $14 billion in short-term losses California hospitals have seen and represents a mere 4% of the allocations to hospitals thus far (even though California is home to 12% of the U.S. population). 

That’s why we’re asking for an immediate budget allocation of $1 billion from this year’s general fund — a financial lifeline for hospitals that have borne the burden of the ongoing COVID-19 response. In addition, we’re pressing for $3 billion in next year’s budget, which, if federal approvals for matching funds are granted, could yield $6 billion for hospitals. 

We’ve asked for you to write letters. We’ve spoken directly with the highest levels of government. And we’ve been working to share your story via traditional media, social media, and a new website, www.protectourhospitals.org. Now, we need your voices, in every way possible, to carry this message even more personally to your state representatives. 

They need to hear from you now — via text, via tweet, via Zoom, via a good old-fashioned phone call — about the difficult decisions before you as you work to continue to provide emergency care, remain ready for another wave of COVID-19, restart many needed and delayed services in your community, and protect the jobs of California’s health care heroes. 

We know that the $3 trillion HEROES Act faces an uphill battle in the Senate. So, as federal legislators need to continue to hear from you, state support is absolutely critical at this time, and time is growing short to make a difference. 

Hospitals have been and continue to be at the forefront of the COVID-19 response, and they are foundational to restarting California’s economy. As legislators consider how to support the many sectors of our state that are hurting right now, hospitals, because of the vital health safety net they provide, must come first. 

Thank you for elevating your voice now, so hospitals get the support they need. 

~ Carmela

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Finance

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Regulations

CHA News Article

CMS Confirms Continuing ‘Enforcement Discretion’ and Limited Survey Activity
For licensing and certification staff, legal counsel, directors of nursing

CHA has confirmed that the general enforcement discretion announced by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on March 23 has been extended indefinitely. It applies to hospitals, long-term care facilities, home health agencies, hospices, and laboratories. No surveys will be conducted, with a few exceptions.

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State Budget

CHA News Article

CHA Provides Summary of Governor’s May Budget Revise
For CEOs, CFOs

On May 14, Gov. Newsom announced his revisions (often referred to as the May Revise) to the budget he proposed in January. He opened his comments by stating these are not ordinary times and that this will not be an ordinary budget. As was announced a week ago, the state is facing a $54.3 billion budget deficit. 

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Post-Acute Care

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Behavioral Health

CHA News Article

DHCS Seeks Administrator for Medication Assisted Treatment Expansion Project
For CEOs, behavioral health directors

The Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) has issued a Request for Applications for an administrator to oversee elements of the California Hub & Spoke System, otherwise known as the Medication Assisted Treatment Expansion Project. Applications are due June 14 at 4 p.m. (PT).

CHA News Article

UN Releases Policy Brief on COVID-19 and Mental Health
For behavioral health staff

United Nations (UN) Secretary-General António Guterres announced the UN’s policy brief on COVID-19 and mental health last week and urged the international community to do much more to protect those who face rising mental pressures. He said that mental health services are an essential part of all government responses to COVID-19 that must be expanded and fully funded. 

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Education

Publication

CHA Education Events

For more information about CHA education programs, visit www.calhospital.org/education.

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