CEO Message

On Federal Issues, Setting a Path for 2020

Next week, your CHA team will represent hospitals and health systems in Washington, D.C., as we meet with several members of the California congressional delegation to make sure lawmakers understand the most important policy issues facing California’s hospitals in 2020.

We start the new year following some good news from the end of 2019. Congress delayed cuts to Medicaid disproportionate share hospital (DSH) funding and postponed action on some concerning proposals to address surprise medical billing.

The delay in DSH funding cuts was, in part, a result of our advocacy to protect vulnerable patients served by our safety-net hospitals. DSH payments offset the cost of the uncompensated care hospitals provide to the uninsured and underinsured, and the cuts proposed would jeopardize access for millions of Californians. As those cuts are delayed only until May of this year, we’ll need to reinvigorate efforts to eliminate them once and for all.

While we managed to avoid passage of some problematic proposals to end surprise billing in 2019, the delay is temporary, as multiple efforts in different House and Senate committees — and strong public pressure — mean this issue will continue to be a priority. In 2020, it will be at the top of our list to ensure Congress understands that hospitals support eliminating surprise billing, but that fixed “benchmark” rates are not the answer.

We need a solution that protects patients, not one that compromises critical resources for their care.

In November, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services published a proposed rule, the Medicaid Fiscal Accountability Regulation, that will have far-reaching significance for how the Medi-Cal program is funded by the federal and state governments. Because this program is so critical to nearly half of California’s children and millions of adults and the hospitals that care for them, CHA is working hard with our state and federal partners to oppose the proposed changes.

Also in 2020, as threats to the Affordable Care Act continue to arise, we’ll work — both in Congress and in the courts — to protect coverage and access. Hospitals’ steady voice and influence will be more important than ever as the law’s various components are questioned.

Major events and other significant national concerns have taken center stage in our nation’s capital at the moment, so we don’t expect any sudden moves on health policy. We do know that, given the presidential election is just 10 months away, lawmakers are looking toward May as a potential deadline to wrap up many key health care issues — including prescription drug pricing, surprise billing, and Medicaid DSH cuts.

Between now and then, we won’t let up in our advocacy to advance and protect your work in caring for patients.

— Carmela

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State Budget

CHA News Article

Governor Unveils State Budget Proposal
For CEOs, government relations staff

Gov. Newsom today announced his administration’s 2020-21 state budget plan, including several proposals related to health care policy. One key component would establish an Office of Health Care Affordability, responsible for developing specific strategies and cost targets for the health care field, including enhancing transparency and ultimately creating savings for consumers; this will likely include a focus on hospital costs in the different regions of the state. CHA will provide more details as they become available.

CHA News Article

CDPH Announces Changes to Application Review Process
For COOs, licensing & certification staff

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has announced changes to its health care facility application review process. For applications received Jan. 1 or later, the CDPH Center for Health Care Quality’s (CHCQ) Centralized Applications Branch will issue a single correction letter for application packets deemed incomplete or incorrect, and will not review those packets unless corrections have been submitted within the time frame identified in the correction letter.

CHA News Article

CDPH Issues Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for Prenatal Screening Regulations
For COOs, licensing & certification staff

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has issued a notice of proposed rulemaking for expanded prenatal screening regulations. Comments on the proposed regulations are due Feb. 3; a public hearing will be held Feb. 11 at 2 p.m. at 1415 L Street, Suite 500, in Sacramento.

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Regulations

CHA News Article

CMS Proposes Changes to CY 2021 Medicare Advantage Risk Adjustment Policies
For CFOs, government relations staff

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued Part I of the calendar year (CY) 2021 Advance Notice of Methodological Changes for Medicare Advantage (MA) Capitation Rates and Part C and Part D Payment Policies, proposing changes to the Part C CMS-Hierarchical Condition Categories (HCC) risk adjustment model as required by the 21st Century Cures Act, which mandates a 60-day comment period. Comments are due March 6.

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Human Resources

CHA News Article

CHA Conference to Offer Human Resources Legal, Practical Insight
For legal counsel, human resources executives, risk & compliance leaders

Registration is now open for CHA’s members-only Human Resources Conference: Bringing Order to Chaos conference in Pasadena March 23-24, combining CHA’s annual Employee Safety and Workers Compensation seminar and its Labor and Employment seminar.  

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Finance

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Emergency Preparedness

CHA News Article

CHA Supports Bills That Alleviate Impact of Power Shut-off Events
For CEOs, government relations staff

Senators Steve Glazer (D-Contra Costa) and Mike McGuire (D-Healdsburg) unveiled legislation on Wednesday to help hospitals and all Californians deal with some of the worst effects of power outages. CHA supports the legislation (see video from press event).

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Quality & Patient Safety

CHA News Article

Hospitals Encouraged to Join Perinatal Mental Health Learning Community by Jan. 31
For CEOs and leaders in quality & patient safety, labor & delivery, and behavioral health

The Hospital Quality Institute (HQI) invites all California birthing hospitals to join its new Perinatal Mental Health (PMH) Learning Community, a free two-year program comprised of webinars, virtual group forums, and one-on-one coaching to strengthen hospital approaches to mental health during the perinatal period. As the program is set to launch in February, hospitals are encouraged to enroll by Jan. 31.

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Volunteers

CHA News Article

Hotel Deadline Approaching for 2020 California Hospital Volunteer Leadership Conference
For CEOs, volunteers

The deadline to reserve discounted sleeping rooms for the 2020 California Hospital Volunteer Leadership Conference is Jan. 24. The conference will be held Feb. 17-19 at the Hyatt Regency Newport Beach. To book a room, call (800) 233-1234 and reference CAHHS or California Hospital Volunteer, or visit www.calhospital.org/CAHHS-2020-hotel.

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HHS News Roundup

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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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