Hospital Topics

Overview

CDPH Licensing & Enforcement

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Licensing and Certification surveyors may visit a hospital at any time to determine whether the hospital is in compliance with state licensing requirements. Visits may result from a complaint by a patient, employee or other third party; a newspaper article; or a report by the hospital itself regarding an unusual occurrence, privacy breach or adverse event.

CHA News Article

CDPH Notifies Providers of Updated Minimum Data Set 3.0
Reflects change to California Section S form

The California Department of Public Health has issued the attached All Facilities Letter notifying certified Medicare and Medicaid nursing facilities that an updated California Minimum Data Set (MDS) 3.0 Section S form is now available. The form, which will take effect Oct. 1, reflects changes on the California Physician Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment form dated January 2016. MDS Section S completion is required for MDS comprehensive assessments, quarterly assessments, discharge assessments and tracking records. Facilities are not required to complete Section S for Medicare Part A prospective payment system assessments.

CHA News Article

CDPH Provides Guidance on Hepatitis A Outbreaks, Vaccine

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has issued the attached All Facilities Letter noting current outbreaks of hepatitis A infection in San Diego and Santa Cruz counties. According to CDPH, infections are particularly prevalent among homeless persons and users of illicit drugs. CDPH has determined transmission occurs person-to-person; no commercial product is identified as being contaminated.

CDPH recommends that hospitals work with local health departments to offer hepatitis A vaccines to all patients who are homeless, users of injection or non-injection illicit drugs, infected with hepatitis B or hepatitis C, or have other liver disease. Hospitals must contact their local health department immediately – while the patient is still in the facility – to report suspected hepatitis A infections, as well as promptly report all confirmed cases and save the blood (serum and EDTA or citrate plasma) from hepatitis A serological testing. Providers in outbreak jurisdictions should also make the hepatitis A vaccine available to health care personnel who have frequent close contact with patients who are homeless or use illicit drugs.

CHA News Article

CDPH Updates Zika Virus Guidance

The California Department of Public Health has issued updated guidelines for managing possible Zika virus infections in pregnant or preconception patients. For all pregnant patients, providers should:

  • Screen for exposure to Zika virus and, if exposed in the last 12 weeks, ask about signs and symptoms such as fever, rash, conjunctivitis or joint pain since exposure.
  • Promptly test if a patient becomes symptomatic or her partner tests positive for Zika virus infection.
  • If a patient has a one-time risk of exposure, follow previously recommended steps.
  • If a patient has ongoing risk of exposure, conduct polymerase chain reaction testing at least once per trimester, unless a previous test has been positive.
  • Counsel pregnant women on the limitations of testing during each trimester.

If a symptomatic patient has no identifiable Zika exposure, providers should contact their local health department. Providers should remind patients who want to conceive in the near future, and who have an ongoing risk of Zika exposure, of recommendations to delay pregnancy until exposure can be reduced. Preconception patients should also consider immunoglobulin M testing to establish a baseline to inform future Zika test results, should the patient be exposed in an ensuing pregnancy.

CHA News Article

CDPH Website Redesign Improves Licensing and Certification Information

The California Department of Public Health this week launched its redesigned website, including improvements to the Center for Health Care Quality’s Licensing and Certification Program pages. The site aims to highlight the work of public health and promote the department’s protection of California health and wellness. The old site, which has been archived and will be taken down in the next few months, is available at https://archive.cdph.ca.gov/Pages/DEFAULT.aspx.

CHA News Article

CDPH Updates Regulations on Reporting Disaster-Related Occurrences

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has issued the attached All Facilities Letter updating its previous guidance related to reporting emergency and disaster occurrences that threaten the welfare, safety or health of patients. The updated guidelines provide contact information for reporting an emergency that results in patient evacuation, transfer or discharge. During normal business hours, facilities are reminded to report to their local CDPH Licensing & Certification district office. After hours, or if the district office is non-operational, facilities should contact the Office of Emergency Services Warning Center or, if in Los Angeles County, the Los Angeles County Operator.  

Overview

Community Benefit Programs
Hospitals give back to their communities

Health care is undergoing tremendous change and uncertainty as California implements the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA). Hospitals are working to ensure there will be enough beds and an adequate supply of health care professionals to meet the demands of the millions of Californians who are signing up for health insurance coverage under the ACA. In addition, California hospitals are meeting the needs of their communities through locally developed community benefit plans by supporting health care programs that provide preventative care to those in need.

Tax-Exempt Status of Nonprofit Hospitals

The tax-exempt status of nonprofit hospitals is being reviewed by policymakers, regulators and public interest groups. There are various proposals to impose burdensome and inflexible standards on nonprofit hospitals in order to obtain tax-exempt status and financing. CHA supports the development of appropriate guidelines that are not unduly burdensome and will allow sufficient flexibility to ensure nonprofit hospitals are able to carry out their mission. They must be based on broad measures of community benefit without establishing rigid formulaic thresholds.

CHA News Article For Members

CHA Releases Brochure Highlighting California’s Community Benefit History

CHA has released the attached educational brochure highlighting California’s community benefit history. For more than 20 years, California’s not-for-profit (NFP) hospitals have led the nation in ensuring that vulnerable populations have access to much needed health care services and health improvement programs. Each year, they contribute an estimated $12 billion to their communities through community benefit programs and activities, including mobile units serving disadvantaged families, classes on disease management and violence prevention, health professions education programs that train the next generation of health care providers, research in clinical and community health that contributes to evidence-based practices, leadership development and training for community members, and much more.

The brochure highlights the ways NFP hospitals partner with their communities to assess community health needs, and explains why flexibility in program development is critical.

Overview

Clinical Care

Clinical care touches every aspect of hospital operations. Policies and procedures surrounding clinical care are of the utmost importance in meeting regulatory, legal and licensing requirements. CHA has numerous area-specific groups — including specialty centers and committees — that address the many aspects of clinical care. Some areas of clinical care are subject to rapid changes in public policy and regulations, creating additional challenges for hospitals. In addition to providing representation and advocacy to address these challenges, CHA focuses on the unique needs of certain facilities, and the services and programs they offer their communities.

General Information

Emergency Department Toolkit
Behavioral health resources for the emergency department

Special resource toolkit developed by CHA’s EMS/Trauma Committee and the Center for Behavioral Health.  Designed to help staff provide support to patients in the ED with psychosis and/or substance abuse disorders, this toolkit provides access to articles, policies, management techniques, assessment tools and more. Click the topic tabs below to access resources and information.

CHA News Article

CMS Provides Resources on Post-Acute QRP ‘Review and Correct’ Reports

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has posted resources from its recent webcast training on post-acute care quality reporting program (QRP) review and correct reports. Among the resources are a video recording and post-training materials, including a question and answer document. The materials are accessible on the CMS QRP training pages for inpatient rehabilitation facilities, long-term care hospitals and skilled-nursing facilities

Recording

The End of Life Option Act Webinar
Understanding the law, considerations for developing and implementing policies

Webinar recorded live April 18, 2016

The End of Life Option Act is one of the most important bills the Governor signed into law this year. Individuals who have a terminal illness and meet certain qualifications may now ask their physician for prescription medication to end their life. The law is complicated and not without controversy.

Recording

Advanced Decision Making for EMTALA Webinar
EMTALA principles, case scenario learning, surveyor compliance tips

Webinar Recorded Live on November 14, 2014

Overview

Whether you are a sending or receiving hospital, many factors must be considered when dealing with a potential EMTALA situation. Knowing the right thing to do isn’t easy, especially in a stressful or busy emergency department.

Overview

Construction / Renovation

In the area of construction and renovation, CHA assists hospitals by reviewing and commenting on proposed regulations, attending all Hospital Building Safety Board (HBSB) meetings, nominating hospital representatives to the HBSB Board and serving as liaison between hospitals and the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development’s (OSHPD) Facility Development Division when issues need to be resolved.

CHA News Article

Health Care Facilities Reminded to Meet Requirements for Fire, Smoke Door Annual Testing
CMS extends compliance deadline to Jan. 1, 2018

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued the attached memo reminding health care providers of requirements for fire and smoke door annual testing. Under the 2012 edition of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Life Safety Code, facilities must meet certain requirements for the maintenance, inspection and testing of fire doors and smoke doors in certain certified health care facilities. In health care occupancies, annual inspection and testing in accordance with the 2010 NFPA 80 is required for all fire door assemblies. Although non-rated doors, including corridor doors to patient care rooms and smoke barrier doors, are not subject to those requirements, they should still be routinely inspected as part of the facility maintenance program. Facilities were originally required to comply prior to July 6, 2017. However, due to reported misunderstanding of the requirements, CMS has extended the deadline for full compliance to Jan. 1, 2018.

CHA News Article

OSHPD Moves to New Location in Sacramento

Last month, the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development moved to a new location. Its headquarters are now at 2020 West El Camino Ave., Sacramento, CA 95833. Email addresses and phone numbers remain the same. Effective immediately, Hospital Building Safety Board (HBSB) meetings have also moved to the same location; details are available on the OSHPD website.

Recording

Sterile Compounding Pharmacies — Planning, Construction and Licensing Guidance Webinar
Gain insights from CA Board of Pharmacy, OSHPD, CDPH Licensing & Certification

Overview

Effective January 2017, hospitals that perform sterile compounding must meet new regulatory requirements from the California State Board of Pharmacy. Beyond updating processes and procedures, hospitals will be required to improve or reconfigure facilities for ventilation, install new equipment for sterility and ensure employee protections.

CHA News Article

CSHE Promotes Energy Efficiency Resources to Hospitals

The California Society for Healthcare Engineering encourages hospitals to participate in the Energy to Care program, sponsored by the American Society for Healthcare Engineering (ASHE). Last year, 43 facilities in California committed to saving energy through the program, which helps health facilities measure their energy use using a robust dashboard and offers recognition for efficiency accomplishments. This year, hospitals are encouraged to maximize their energy savings by participating in the program’s Energy Gold Rush Challenge Campaign. More information is available in the attached bulletin.

ASHE also provides a sustainability roadmap for hospitals seeking to reduce energy use, waste and costs. In recognition for its work, ASHE has been named a 2017 ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year – Energy Efficiency Program Delivery Award winner.

Overview

Emergency Preparedness
Is your hospital prepared?

Visit CHA’s Emergency Preparedness website at calhospitalprepare.org

About

Through the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, Office of Preparedness and Emergency Operations, Hospital Preparedness Program (HPP) grant, CHA has created a web site specifically devoted to Emergency Preparedness at www.calhospitalprepare.org.

   
CHA News Article

Disaster Planning Conference Keynote Focuses on Pediatric Preparedness

CHA’s annual Disaster Planning for California Hospitals conference began yesterday in Sacramento, bringing together hospital staff, emergency responders and state and county health officials. Following yesterday’s pre-conference workshop, which focused on compliance with federal requirements and standards, today’s session opened with a keynote from Michael Anderson, President, UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals and senior vice president, children’s services, UCSF Health. During his presentation, Anderson emphasized the importance of including children, who represent more than 20 percent of the population, in disaster response planning.

Anderson noted that providers should be ready not only for mass disasters involving children — whose care needs are much different from those of adults — but also the “disaster of one,” where a child presents to an emergency room at any time with a life-threatening condition. Anderson urged the audience to be advocates for children in their workplaces and communities, unifying the group by calling out their shared desire to leave the world a safer place than they found it.

The conference continues through tomorrow with presentations on the Bronx-Lebanon Hospital shooting, the Oroville Dam crisis, an update from the California Department of Public Health and a panel presentation on the importance of interdisciplinary and interagency partnerships in managing infectious diseases. 

CHA News Article

Hospitals Encouraged to Support Florida Hospital Employees Affected by Hurricane Irma
CHA, Regional Associations contribute $20,000

Join CHA and the Regional Associations in contributing to the relief fund established by the Florida Hospital Association to support affected employees.

CHA News Article

Providers Reminded That Cyber Scams Often Follow Natural Disasters

In the wake of several natural disasters, providers are reminded to stay vigilant for cyber scams. The attached tips from the National Health Information Sharing and Analysis Center outline several common scams attempted in times of crisis, including spoofs of relief organizations, sham flood mitigation or debris removal organizations, and flood insurance robocall scams. Those who wish to donate to relief funds should:

  • Donate to known and trusted charities.
  • Be alert for charities that seem to have been created in connection with current events.
  • Designate the disaster to ensure funds go to disaster relief rather than a general fund.
  • Never click on links or open attachments in an email unless the sender is known.
  • Keep antivirus and other computer software updated.
CHA News Article

CMS Announces Emergency Preparedness Surveyor Training Course

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Survey & Certification Group today released its Emergency Preparedness Basic Surveyor Training Course. The course is intended to assist health and safety and Life Safety Code surveyors and reviewers gain proficiency in surveying affected participating providers and certified suppliers for compliance with their individual emergency preparedness requirements. 

CHA News Article

CHA Workshop Will Outline Emergency Management Requirements that Take Effect Nov. 15
Will include navigating compliance with new and existing requirements

CHA’s upcoming Disaster Planning for California Hospitals Conference, Sept. 18–20 in Sacramento, will open with a timely pre-conference workshop, Emergency Management Requirements — A Roadmap for Successful Compliance. The workshop kicks off with a presentation from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services on new emergency preparedness conditions of participation. Representatives from The Joint Commission and the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response will also explain their requirements of health care providers. A panel of California hospital representatives will share how they are working to implement the requirements in their facilities.

In addition to the pre-conference workshop, the conference will feature general sessions on recent national and state disaster events, including the June shooting at Bronx-Lebanon Hospital and the 2017 Oroville Dam crisis; 19 different breakout sessions on a wealth of topics; a best practices poster showcase; and more. More than 700 people are expected at this annual event, which is the largest gathering of hospital disaster planning teams and community and government partners in California. For more information and to register, visit www.calhospital.org/disaster-planning.

Overview

Environmental Health & Safety

CHA assists hospital environmental health and safety (EH&S) officers and other hospital personnel regarding compliance with the many — and frequently overlapping — state and federal EH&S requirements, including those related to  managing medical, hazardous and low-level radioactive waste. CHA also monitors EH&S legislation and regulation on behalf of hospitals and acts as their liaison with government agencies.  

CHA News Article

New Guidance Available on PPE for First Responders Exposed to Opioids

A new publication from the InterAgency Board establishes guidance on personal protective equipment (PPE) for first responders exposed to synthetic opioids. While the guidance notes that most routine encounters between patients and emergency medical services (EMS) staff or law enforcement do not present a significant threat of toxic exposure, the recent rise of synthetic opioid use poses increased risk. The guidance seeks to proactively address that risk by establishing standards for PPE selection and use, decontamination, detection and medical countermeasures. Though the guidance is written for EMS staff, its recommendations are also applicable to hospital settings.

CHA News Article

Health Care Facilities Reminded to Meet Requirements for Fire, Smoke Door Annual Testing
CMS extends compliance deadline to Jan. 1, 2018

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued the attached memo reminding health care providers of requirements for fire and smoke door annual testing. Under the 2012 edition of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Life Safety Code, facilities must meet certain requirements for the maintenance, inspection and testing of fire doors and smoke doors in certain certified health care facilities. In health care occupancies, annual inspection and testing in accordance with the 2010 NFPA 80 is required for all fire door assemblies. Although non-rated doors, including corridor doors to patient care rooms and smoke barrier doors, are not subject to those requirements, they should still be routinely inspected as part of the facility maintenance program. Facilities were originally required to comply prior to July 6, 2017. However, due to reported misunderstanding of the requirements, CMS has extended the deadline for full compliance to Jan. 1, 2018.

CHA News Article

CDC Highlights Hospital Patients’ Risk of Exposure to Legionella Bacteria

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released a new Vital Signs report highlighting patients’ risks of exposure to Legionella bacteria in health care facilities, including hospitals and long-term care facilities. According to the report, one in four people who contract Legionnaires’ disease as a health care-associated infection will die. Effective water management is key to preventing health care-associated outbreaks. The CDC has made available resources and tools to assist providers in reducing the threat from this bacteria. The American Society of Healthcare Engineers has also released tools to assist its members in managing water systems. Additionally, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has released the attached guidance providing more information about infections, tips for prevention and expectations of health care facilities.

CHA News Article

CDPH Approves Medical Waste Treatment Facilities

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has approved two California pyrolysis treatment facilities — managed by Aemerge and Medical Waste Services, LLC — to treat all types of medical waste. Additional alternative medical waste treatment technologies approved by CDPH are available online. Hospitals that have questions can contact Alison Dabney, CDPH supervisor, medical waste, at alison.dabney@cdph.ca.gov.

CHA News Article

Draft Air Pollution Guidelines Developed
Hospitals should work with local AQMD to develop district standards

The California Air Pollution Control Officers Association has developed the attached draft guidelines updating procedures for public notification of air pollution risks and incorporating advances in the field of risk assessment. Current law requires regulated facilities, including hospitals (under certain conditions), to report the types and quantities of toxic air pollutants they routinely emit. For hospitals, this includes emissions from back-up diesel generators. The law, known as the “Hot Spots” Act, also requires air quality management districts (AQMDs) to determine which facilities must conduct health risk assessments using the California Air Resources Board’s Emission Inventory Criteria and Guidelines. The draft guidelines, developed with assistance from the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment and the California Air Resources Board, are intended to be used by local districts in evaluating their Hot Spots programs. Hospitals should work with local AQMDs to learn how these guidelines will be implemented at the district level and whether their district will also update its pollution emission standards.

Overview

Finance

Hospital finance is complicated, and California hospitals operate in a challenging environment. Hospital executives are faced with the task of developing financial strategies that contain costs yet allow for the provision of health care to the state’s large uninsured population.

CHA News Article

Noridian to Conduct Targeted Probe and Educate Pilot Review Process

In a recent bulletin, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced it has authorized Noridian, California’s Medicare administrative contractor, to conduct the targeted probe and educate (TPE) pilot review process required for providers targeted by medical review. The TPE process includes three rounds of a prepayment probe review with provider education. If high denials continue after the first three rounds, Noridian will refer the provider and results to CMS. CMS will determine additional action, which may include extrapolation, referral to the zone program integrity contractor (ZPIC) or referral to recovery audit contractor.

If selected for this review, providers would not be excluded from other medical review activities, such as automated reviews, comparative billing reports, mandated demand bill reviews, other pilot review strategies as directed by CMS or other contractor reviews. Additionally, Noridian will continue to work with other CMS contractors and collaborate with referrals to quality integrity organizations for concern of quality care, ZPIC for concerns related to potential fraud/abuse, and recovery audit contractors for collaboration of vulnerability and to ensure no duplication of reviews.

CHA News Article

Senate Finance Committee Reintroduces Bill to Address Chronic Illness

Yesterday, the U.S. Senate Finance Committee reintroduced S. 870, the Creating High-Quality Results and Outcomes Necessary to Improve Chronic (CHRONIC) Care Act of 2017. Aiming to strengthen and improve health outcomes for Medicare beneficiaries living with chronic conditions, the bill would:

  • Expand the Independence at Home program, which allows seniors to receive specialized care at home
  • Improve flexibility in the Medicare Advantage program by allowing plans to tailor coordination and benefits to specific patient groups, permanently extending special needs plans and expanding supplemental benefits
  • Allow certain accountable care organizations to use their own money to help patients afford primary care services, and provide the option to assign beneficiaries prospectively rather than retrospectively
  • Expand the use and flexibility of telehealth services

A one-page summary and a section-by-section summary of the bill are attached. The bill was previously introduced in December 2016 and remains largely unchanged.

CHA News Article

DHCS Announces Fiscal Intermediary Name Change

The Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) has announced that the current Medi-Cal fiscal intermediary for its fee-for-service system, Xerox State Healthcare, LLC, has been rebranded to Conduent State Healthcare, LLC. This shift, caused by the entity’s separation from its parent company, reflects its shift to a new independent, publicly traded company called Conduent Incorporated. The rebranding process began Jan. 3, when the separation was finalized.

It is essential for Medi-Cal-enrolled providers, beneficiaries and stakeholders to know that, effective Jan. 3, 2017, correspondence bearing the name Conduent may be related to Medi-Cal.

To stay informed about any changes occurring within Medi-Cal, enrolled providers, beneficiaries and stakeholders should open and read all information sent from DHCS, Xerox or Conduent. More information is available on the DHCS website.

Recording

Hospital Presumptive Eligibility Program Webinar
A vital tool for providing potentially-eligible individuals with on-the-spot Medi-Cal coverage

Webinar Recorded Live on June 19, 2014

Hospitals can play an important role in reducing the number of uninsured through the Hospital Presumptive Eligibility (HPE) program. The HPE program will allow all hospital Medi-Cal providers — including any clinic on a hospital’s license — to provide potentially-eligible individuals with temporary, full-scope Medi-Cal benefits.

Overview

Health Care Reform

Our nation’s health care system has entered a new era with the enactment of federal health care reform. This landmark legislation is resulting in many changes in how health care is financed and delivered for years to come. For nearly two decades, CHA has been at the forefront in advocating for meaningful health care reform — and we will continue to help shape the future of hospital care far into the future. CHA’s vision of an “optimally healthy society” is now a reality within reach.

This section provides materials to help hospitals understand and comply with the law, plan for the future, and communicate with their patients and communities about the impacts of health care reform.

CHA News Article

Covered California Report Emphasizes Importance of Marketing, Outreach

Covered California released a report this week about the critical role that marketing and outreach play in promoting a stable individual health insurance market and making coverage more affordable. The report, Marketing Matters: Lessons From California to Promote Stability and Lower Costs in the National and State Individual Insurance Markets, found that if the federally facilitated marketplace invested at a rate comparable to California — which devotes 1.4 percent of the marketplace’s total premiums to marketing and outreach — it would invest $480 million, which is more than 10 times what the federal government recently announced it would spend to promote enrollment for 2018.

According to the report, if the federally facilitated marketplace invested at this level over three years, it would likely result in 2.1 million more Americans enrolling or keeping their coverage, while decreasing premiums by an average of 3.2 percent, and generating a return on investment for the spending of about five to one.

CHA News Article

DHCS Issues DACA Rescission FAQs

The California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) has issued frequently asked questions that detail how the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) rescission at the federal level impacts Medi-Cal eligibility for existing DACA recipients in California. In its FAQ, DHCS clarifies that there will be no changes to the Medi-Cal coverage for DACA recipients (adults or children) in California. Under existing Medi-Cal policy, individuals in a deferred action status category continue to be eligible for state-funded, full scope Medi-Cal if they otherwise meet all other Medi-Cal program eligibility requirements. Therefore, individuals with DACA status will not have their health coverage impacted unless they have other changes in their eligibility status (e.g., increase in income, no longer residing in California, etc.). 

CHA News Article

Covered California for Small Business Announces Rates and Plans for 2018

Yesterday, Covered California for Small Business (CCSB) released its health plan choices and rates for the 2018 plan year. The weighted average rate change of 5.6 percent is less than last year and is slightly lower than the overall medical trend for small- and large-group business lines in California. CCSB will offer five plans in 2018, including two preferred provider organization plans with full provider networks from Blue Shield of California and Health Net; two health maintenance organization plans that are provider- and hospital-based from Kaiser Permanente and Sharp Health Plan; and Chinese Community Health Plan in San Francisco. CCSB will not offer Western Health Advantage in 2018, which will impact an estimated 350 consumers.

Currently, more than 35,000 individuals have insurance through CCSB, representing a growth of approximately 7,600 individuals for a 27 percent gain in membership over this time last year. CCSB also announced that next month it will launch enhanced web-based enrollment and renewal capabilities for customers, certified insurance agents and general agents.

CHA News Article

New Analysis Shows Premium Increases, Drop in Coverage if Federal Policies Change

Covered California has released a new analysis showing the consequences California faces if federal policies are changed – specifically, if funding for cost-sharing reduction reimbursements is ended and the individual shared responsibility payment is not enforced for consumers who choose not to purchase coverage. According to the report, Covered California’s premiums could rise 28 to 49 percent in 2018, and changes to federal policy could result in up to 340,000 consumers losing coverage. This would lead to increased federal spending, anticipated to be in the billions of dollars. More information is available in Covered California’s press release.

CHA News Article

CMS Finalizes Rules for the Health Insurance Marketplace

Last week, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued the Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters final rule and the final Annual Letter to Issuers for 2018 in the Federally Facilitated Marketplaces. The final rule establishes standards for issuers and each health insurance marketplace, generally for plan years that begin on or after Jan. 1, 2018. The policies in the final rule include updates to the risk adjustment program and to eligibility, enrollment and benefits, as well as other changes that aim to streamline the marketplace consumer experience and strengthen the marketplaces’ individual and small group markets as a whole. The final rule builds on other actions CMS has taken to strengthen the marketplaces in recent weeks and months, including an interim final rule addressing concerns about third-party premium payments and a pilot that will test whether pre-enrollment verification of special enrollment periods strengthens the marketplace risk pool while maintaining access to coverage.

Overview

Health Information Management & Technology

CHA supports the capture and availability of secure patient-care data through the use of health information technology (HIT) across the continuum of care. CHA believes HIT serves as a tool to enhance patient safety, promote information sharing for preventative health services and reduce health care costs.

Hospitals face a number of challenges with HIT such as security and interoperability. The development of industry standards is crucial to successful interoperability and the safe and effective exchange of patient data. Certification of vendor systems, for example, involves compliance with industry-accepted data and technical standards.

CHA News Article

Updated eCQM Specifications Available for Calendar Year 2018

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has posted the 2017 annual update for electronic clinical quality measures (eCQMs) for calendar year 2018 reporting for eligible hospitals and critical access hospitals (CAHs), as well as eligible professionals and clinicians. The updated eCQMs may be included in the future in any of the following programs:

  • Hospital Inpatient Quality Reporting Program
  • Medicare Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Program for eligible hospitals and CAHs
  • Medicaid EHR Incentive Program for eligible professionals, hospitals and CAHs
  • Quality Payment Program: The Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) for MIPS-eligible clinicians and alternative payment models
CHA News Article

Important Changes Announced for Medi-Cal EHR Incentive Program

The Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) has changed an eligibility rule for hospitals applying to the program year 2016 Medi-Cal Electronic Health Record Incentive Program for the first time. Previously, DHCS required hospitals to submit cost report data for a continuous 12-month period ending before the start of the federal fiscal year (Oct. 1-Sept. 30) that serves as the program year for the Medi-Cal EHR Incentive Program. Under the recent change, hospitals will be able to submit data for the 12-month period before the fiscal year ends. In addition, hospitals with a new CCN must reapply to the program.

Hospitals are reminded that program year 2016 marks the last opportunity to start the program; applications from hospitals that have not successfully participated in the 2016 program will not be accepted for 2017 and subsequent years. Applications are due May 2. For more information, visit http://medi-cal.ehr.ca.gov/ or call (916) 552-9181.

CHA News Article

GAO Reports on Patient Access to Electronic Health Information

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently issued a report that reviewed the state of patients’ electronic access to their health information. The report found that relatively few patients electronically access their health information when offered the ability to do so and that – while patients generally find access beneficial — there are limitations, such as the inability to aggregate health information from multiple providers into a single record. The GAO recommended that the Department of Health and Human Services develop performance measures to assess outcomes of efforts related to patients’ electronic access to longitudinal health information, and use the information from these measures to help achieve program goals. The full report is available on the GAO website.

CHA News Article

ONC Health Information Technology Certification Program Rules Finalized

The Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) for Health Information Technology has released its final rule implementing new requirements under the ONC Health IT Certification program. The final rule creates a regulatory framework for ONC’s direct review of health information technology certified under the program, including requiring the correction of non-conformities found in health IT certified under the program and suspending and terminating certifications issued to complete EHRs and health IT modules. The final rule also sets forth processes for ONC to authorize and oversee accredited testing laboratories and includes provisions for expanded public availability of certified health IT surveillance results. The regulations will take effect 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.

Recording

HIPAA/HITECH Final Rule and California Law Webinar DVD
What California hospitals need to know

Webinar Recorded Live February 27, 2013

There’s a lot of buzz around the new HIPAA/HITECH final rule, and hospitals are moving quickly to review and understand the new federal regulations. But, California has its own set of laws to consider that are sometimes more stringent. So, which laws do you need to follow?

Overview

Human Resources

California hospitals and health systems employ more than half a million people — from entry-level positions to senior executives. Many health care human resources (HR) departments are responsible for a wide range of issues, such as recruitment, staffing, compensation, benefits, labor/employee relations and employee health. Navigating the complex regulatory environment, while monitoring how it applies to HR in the health care setting, can be a challenging and dynamic task.

Representing hospitals and health systems in California, CHA provides leadership in HR policy on state and federal levels. In addition, CHA advocates on behalf of hospitals and health systems before the federal and state legislatures, federal and state administrative agencies and the public. CHA also provides educational opportunities, such as the annual Labor & Employment Law seminar, to help hospital leaders sharpen their skills and knowledge in health care HR. CHA members also participate on an HR executive e-mail list and receive periodic informational memoranda. 

CHA News Article

UHW Files Initiative to Set Staffing Requirements, Limit Charges for Dialysis Clinics

The Service Employees International Union – United Healthcare Workers West today filed a ballot initiative — the Kidney Dialysis Patient Protection Act — with the attorney general for the 2018 General Election. 

The initiative would establish minimum staffing requirements for nurses, hemodialysis technicians, social workers and registered dietitians in chronic dialysis clinics. In addition, it would create a minimum transition time between patients and limit charges to 115 percent of “reasonable treatment cost,” as defined in the initiative. The initiative would also establish reporting requirements and penalties for violations. 

Although the initiative aims to impose these provisions on for-profit dialysis corporations, some hospitals that operate chronic dialysis clinics may also be impacted. The attorney general will prepare and issue a title and summary in October 2017, which can be used to circulate the petition for signatures. The initiative’s sponsors must collect and submit an estimated 366,000 verified signatures in April 2018 to qualify the initiative for the Nov. 6, 2018, General Election.

CHA News Article

New Criminal Background Regulations Approved
Rules will take effect July 1

The Office of Administrative Law (OAL) has approved new regulations, adopted by the California Fair Employment and Housing Council (FEHC), concerning employers’ use of criminal background information when making employment decisions. The regulations, which take effect July 1, require employers to demonstrate that any criminal history information sought is job-related and consistent with a business need. To meet this obligation, employers may either 1) conduct an individual assessment of circumstances and qualifications of applicants excluded by the conviction screen and determine whether an exception is warranted, or 2) demonstrate that its conviction disqualification policy, though not based on individual assessment, nonetheless properly distinguishes between those who do and do not pose an acceptable level of risk.

Any policy that is not based on individual assessment and is seven or more years old will be presumed not to meet the standards of the new regulations; employers must rebut this presumption proactively. Additionally, prior to taking any adverse action, employers who obtain criminal information from a source other than the applicant must notify the individual and provide him or her an opportunity to challenge the information’s accuracy.

CHA News Article

RNs With Incomplete Records Must Submit Fingerprints
BRN to notify affected RNs, provide instructions

The Board of Registered Nursing (BRN) has determined that certain registered nurses do not have both Department of Justice (DOJ) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) fingerprint results on file with the BRN. LiveScan testing incorporates both DOJ and FBI requirements; however, if the LiveScan technology did not produce clear results or an outdated method of fingerprinting was used, the RN may not have acceptable fingerprints on file. 

The BRN is working to contact all affected RNs via mail and/or email with instructions. To avoid potential delays in license renewal or other action, RNs should read the information carefully and respond accordingly. In most cases, RNs will be required to submit fingerprints within 60 days of notification or risk citation, fines or referral to the Attorney General’s office for possible disciplinary action.

Detailed information is available at www.rn.ca.gov.

Overview

Legal

CHA’s legal department advocates vigorously before the courts on behalf of California hospitals, both as a party in litigation and as amicus curiae in important appellate cases. In addition, the CHA legal department prepares legal memoranda and manuals to help hospitals understand and comply with state and federal laws. The CHA legal department also supports CHA staff in their advocacy efforts before the state legislature and regulatory agencies.

CHA News Article

No Private Lawsuit Allowed Under Involuntary Mental Health Evaluation Laws

Last week the California Court of Appeals ruled in Julian v. Mission Community Hospital, finding that California’s involuntary mental health evaluation and treatment laws do not confer a private cause of action. This means that a patient cannot sue a hospital or physician for involuntarily detaining, evaluating or treating him or her. The court held that only administrative agencies — such as the California Department of Public Health or the Medical Board of California — can enforce these laws against a hospital or physicians. The court also held that the hospital and physicians were not state actors under civil rights laws and, therefore, could not be liable for violating the plaintiff’s rights under the federal and California constitutions. 

The case was certified for publication, which means that it may be cited as precedent in future lawsuits. It is unknown at this time whether the plaintiff will ask the California Supreme Court to review the case. The court’s decision is attached.

CHA News Article

2017 Consent Manual Released
CHA mails each member organization a free manual

CHA is pleased to announce the 2017 Consent Manual is now available. Updated to reflect changes to state and federal consent law through January 2017, the Consent Manual explains the law and what hospitals need to do to comply. As a service to members, one complimentary copy of this acclaimed publication is being sent to each member hospital and system CEO this week.

The Consent Manual is the most comprehensive resource available on consent for medical treatment, covering situations involving minors, mental health, end-of-life issues and advance health care directives, patients’ rights, privacy basics, reporting requirements and related health care law. It is designed to help keep hospital executives abreast of the law and provide answers to difficult questions faced by staff every day.

CHA News Article For Members

FDA Identifies Hospitals That Have Not Reported Device Malfunctions

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has publicly disclosed multiple hospital violations of the mandatory reporting requirement when a medical device may have caused harm. Hospitals and other health care providers (“device user facilities”) must report to the FDA any event that reasonably suggests that a medical device has or may have caused or contributed to a death or serious injury of a patient. This includes user error; improper or inadequate design, manufacture or labeling; or any other cause of harm related to a device, as well as device malfunction.

Recording

The End of Life Option Act Webinar
Understanding the law, considerations for developing and implementing policies

Webinar recorded live April 18, 2016

The End of Life Option Act is one of the most important bills the Governor signed into law this year. Individuals who have a terminal illness and meet certain qualifications may now ask their physician for prescription medication to end their life. The law is complicated and not without controversy.

Overview

Patient Rights

California and federal laws give hospital patients many rights. Hospitals must notify patients of these rights by giving patients a handout and/or by putting posters up in the hospital.

CHA has developed a sample handout that hospitals may use to notify patients of their rights under state hospital licensing regulations, the Medicare Conditions of Participation, and The Joint Commission.

CHA News Article

Hospitals Should Review Child Abuse Reporting Policies

Effective Jan. 1, a hospital’s internal child abuse reporting policy may not direct employees to allow their supervisor to file or process a mandated report under any circumstances. The law was enacted because of concerns that supervisors at private foster family agencies had impeded social workers and teachers from making reports when they suspected child abuse.

Publication

Principles of Consent and Advance Directives Guidebook
A guidebook on patient consent for treatment and other health care decisions, including the End of Life Option Act

This guidebook guides you through the basic principles of patient consent for health care treatment. In clear, simple terms this publication explains why and when consent is necessary, who may give consent, how consent for minors is different, and procedures that require special consent. It also describes the hospital’s obligations when dealing with complicated issues such as advance health care directives, California’s POLST form, refusal of treatment, and end-of-life decisions, including California’s End of Life Option Act .

Publication

2017 Consent Manual
The trusted resource for consent and related health care law

From basic principles to specific procedures, the Consent Manual is your one-stop resource for all legal requirements related to patient consent for medical treatment, release of medical information, reporting requirements and more. Learn exactly what the law requires and what you need to do to comply.

Recording

The End of Life Option Act Webinar
Understanding the law, considerations for developing and implementing policies

Webinar recorded live April 18, 2016

The End of Life Option Act is one of the most important bills the Governor signed into law this year. Individuals who have a terminal illness and meet certain qualifications may now ask their physician for prescription medication to end their life. The law is complicated and not without controversy.

Resource

Patient Rights Poster
(English)

Download the Patient Rights Poster for free or order a copy for only $2. (Last updated March 2017)

Note: To be legally compliant, poster must be readable and legible therefore this poster should be printed on 11″ x 17″ (tabloid) paper.

General information

Population Health Management
Listen to podcasts and webinar recordings to master PHM

Overview

A major transformation is underway in health care to enhance patient care quality, access and experience, and reduce costs. Because population health management (PHM) is the direction in which health care is moving, the California Hospital Association is pleased to provide member hospitals with comprehensive and substantive podcasts and webinar recordings designed to enhance the knowledge and skills needed to succeed under a PHM construct.

Master PHM
Based on CHA’s webinar series, Population Health Management: A comprehensive, five-part program for hospital leaders, the podcasts and recordings offer critical information for executives and professionals in a wide range of organizations. Five key areas are presented:

  • The PHM Framework
  • Business Considerations for PHM
  • Clinical Considerations for PHM
  • Technology for PHM
  • Leadership and Talent for PHM

Podcasts

Jan. 4, 2017 Podcast
A Framework for Population Health Management — From Providing Care to Managing Health
Jan. 11, 2017 Podcast
Drivers of the Population Health Management Imperative
Jan. 18, 2017 Podcast
Nine Population Health Management Key Competencies
Jan. 25, 2017 Podcast
Comprehensive Care Management — Clinical and Business Competencies
Feb. 1, 2017 Podcast
Types of Risk Assumed by Hospitals and Health Systems Under PHM
Feb. 8, 2017 Podcast
Provider Organization Roles Under PHM
Feb. 15, 2017 Podcast
A Framework for the Pursuit of PHM
Feb. 22, 2017 Podcast
Determining the Market’s Stage and Pace of Change
March 1, 2017 Podcast
Evaluating Organizational Position and Competence Gaps
March 8, 2017 Podcast
Identifying PHM Opportunities, Determining Scope and Scale
March 15, 2017 Podcast
Defining a Contracting Strategy to Support PHM Opportunities
March 22, 2017 Podcast
Identifying the Appropriate PHM Path for the Organization — Build, Buy or Partner

Webinar Recordings

Webinar 1: A Framework for Population Health Management
Webinar 2: Business Imperatives for Population Health Management
Webinar 3: Clinical Imperatives for Population Health Management
Webinar 4: Technology for Population Health Management
Webinar 5: Leadership and Talent for Population Health Management
Overview

Quality & Patient Safety

CHA is committed to helping hospitals improve quality, reduce medical errors and adverse events, and maximize patient safety.

CHA’s vision is an “optimally healthy society.” CHA’s goal is for “every Californian to have equitable access to affordable, high-quality, medically necessary health care.”

Frequent studies in recent years have argued that health care errors are a significant cause of morbidity and mortality in the United States. A number of organizations, such as the Institute of Medicine (IOM), recommend that health care errors and adverse events be reported in a systemic manner.

This increasing attention on the quality of patient care in hospitals has renewed CHA’s commitment to assist with improving the quality of patient care in every California hospital. In 2006, the CHA Board of Trustees endorsed the CHA Quality and Patient Safety Plan of 2006.

CHA News Article

Census Bureau Releases Data on U.S. Health Insurance Coverage in 2016
Includes California-specific information

The report contains data collected in the Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplements and the American Community Survey from 2014-17. According to the report, the uninsured rate dropped from 9.1 percent to 8.8 percent between 2015 and 2016.

CHA News Article

First Case of West Nile Virus Confirmed in Sacramento County

Last week, the Sacramento County Division of Public Health confirmed the first human case of West Nile virus in Sacramento County for this year’s mosquito season, which begins in summer and continues through fall. Statewide, 41 cases from nine counties have been reported. Clinicians are encouraged to consider West Nile virus for any patients with febrile or acute neurologic illness who have recent exposure to mosquitos, blood transfusion or organ transplant; test suspected patients by collecting blood, cerebrospinal fluid or tissue; and report laboratory-confirmed cases via CalREDIE. More information is available in the attached advisory.

CHA News Article

Use HQI’s QuietNight™ Mobile App to Help Reduce Hospital Noise

The Hospital Quality Institute (HQI) is pleased to announce the launch of QuietNight™, a next generation mobile tool designed to measure noise in hospital environments and provide real-time feedback.

Excessive noise negatively impacts patient rest and healing. According to Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey data, reducing noise has been a steady challenge for California hospitals. Accurate to within -/+ 1 decibel, QuietNight rapidly measures the sound floor in any environment and quantifies opportunities for noise mitigation based on deviation from recommended levels. The app registers and tracks baseline as well as startle noise and provides actionable guidance when noise levels are moving to unacceptable levels. It also integrates HQI’s Journey to a Quiet Night toolkit, which contains best practices for noise reduction, abatement and maintaining a quiet, therapeutic environment.

CHA News Article

DHCS Provides Update on California Medication Assisted Treatment Expansion

The California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) has completed its review of the competitive application process for distributing funds to narcotic treatment program (NTP) providers for opioid treatment, consistent with the federal grants issued by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) – State Targeted Response Opioid Grant Program. The 21st Century Cures Act authorized $485 million in funding to be issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to address opioid abuse; California has been allocated $90 million over two years to assist with its Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) Expansion.

The project strategically focuses on expanding access to populations with limited MAT availability, including rural areas and American Indian and Native Alaskan tribal communities, and increasing statewide access to buprenorphine. The grant focuses on two projects: the California Hub and Spoke System (CA H&SS) and the Tribal MAT Project. DHCS received 62 applications from providers to operate a hub and spoke system and selected 19 to fund across the state. The total amount allocated for the CA H&SS is $78 million for the two-year period. The remaining grant funds will be used to fund the Tribal MAT Project and training conducted by UCLA and the California Society of Addiction Medicine. 

CHA News Article

CDPH Reminds Providers About Infection Control for Candida auris

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) reminds health care providers to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for identification and infection control related to Candida auris. Providers should:

  • Place patients with C. auris in single-patient rooms and use standard isolation precautions.
  • Emphasize adherence to hand hygiene.
  • Clean and disinfect the patient care environment with recommended products.
  • Screen contacts of the patients to identify C. auris colonization. Because patients colonized with C. auris can be a source of C. auris transmission, these patients should be managed using the same infection control measures as for those with C. auris infection.

Health care facilities should report possible C. auris, or isolates of C. haemulonii and Candida spp. that cannot be identified after routine testing, to their local health department and the Healthcare-Associated Infections (HAI) Program at HAIProgram@cdph.ca.gov. The HAI Program can assist with infection control guidance and coordination of C. auris identification testing at the CDPH Microbial Diseases Laboratory.  For questions about available fungal diagnostic testing services, contact Dr. Linlin Li at Linlin.Li@cdph.ca.gov.

Overview

Reimbursement

California hospitals’ revenue stream is critical to their overall mission of providing care and cures in the communities they serve. While over half of hospitals’ revenue, nearly $30 billion a year, is derived from government-funded programs, including Medicare, Medi-Cal, Healthy Families and county indigent programs – Private Insurance revenues are also significant.

CHA believes that hospitals should be reimbursed adequately to cover the cost of care for enrollees. CHA also believes every Californian who is eligible should be enrolled in the appropriate federal, state or local governmental program. Hospitals and private payers should not be responsible to pay for government underpayments. CHA dedicates many resources to advocate for fair government reimbursement. CHA DataSuite is an information-based toolset, available only to CHA members, that helps hospitals analyze government reimbursement changes, and the potential impact of regulatory and legislative actions on hospitals.

CHA News Article

CMS Releases Newly Redesigned Medicare Cards

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) last week released the newly redesigned Medicare card, which contains a unique, randomly-assigned number that replaces the current Social Security-based number. To meet its statutory deadline for replacing all existing Medicare cards by April 2019, CMS will begin mailing the new cards to individuals with Medicare benefits in April 2018 .

CMS has assigned everyone with Medicare benefits a new, unique Medicare number, which contains a combination of numbers and uppercase letters. Issuance of the new number will not change recipients’ Medicare benefits.  

Health care providers and Medicare beneficiaries will be able to use secure look-up tools that will allow quick access to the new Medicare numbers when needed. To ease the transition, CMS will provide a 21-month transition period during which doctors, providers and suppliers will be able to use either the current or new Medicare number.

This initiative takes important steps toward protecting the identities of Medicare beneficiaries. CMS is also working with health care providers to answer their questions and ensure they have the information they need to make a successful transition to the new Medicare number. More information is available at www.cms.gov/newcard.

CHA News Article

Hospitals Reminded to Submit Revised Worksheet S-10 Data to CMS
Revision deadline is Sept. 30

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS’) federal fiscal year (FFY) 2018 inpatient prospective payment system final rule establishes changes to fund distribution for Medicare disproportionate share hospital (DSH) uncompensated care (UCC) payments. CMS determined that it will phase-in payments based on information collected from Line 30 on the S-10 Worksheet of the Medicare cost report to determine the UCC payment factor, starting with FFY 2014 cost reports for DSH UCC payments in FFY 2018.

As previously reported in CHA News, hospitals may submit revisions to Worksheet S-10 of their Medicare cost report for FFYs 2014 and 2015. CHA urges members to review Worksheet S-10 of their FFY 2014 and 2015 cost reports and submit amendments to their respective Medicare administrative contractors before the Sept. 30 deadline.

CHA News Article

Providers Required to Use Two Updated CMS Forms
Revised EFT, Advance Beneficiary Notice of Noncoverage forms available

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has released two new forms for providers’ use. The first form relates to electronic funds transfers, and is required to be completed by all Medicare Part A providers who are enrolling or revalidating, or who have changes to their employer identification number, pay-to address or legal business same. The second form released by CMS is an updated Advance Beneficiary Notice of Noncoverage; providers were required to begin using this form June 21. Any new notices submitted on the old form after June 21 will be considered invalid, and will result in provider liability if Medicare denies the claim.

CHA News Article

Noridian Encourages Online Re-determination Requests From Providers
Announces launch of Region 4 recovery audit website

Noridian, the Medicare administrative contractor for California, encourages providers to submit redetermination requests and associated documentation through its online portal, a faster option that also prevents requests from being dismissed for lack of signature. Additionally, providers may access decision letters immediately through the portal.

Noridian also announced that HMS Federal Solutions launched the new Region 4 recovery audit website, which provides information providers may use to prepare if selected as part of any new issue reviews.

CHA News Article

CMS Issues OPPS, PFS Proposed Rules for Calendar Year 2018

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued the attached proposed rules updating the outpatient prospective payment system (OPPS) and physician fee schedule (PFS) for calendar year 2018. Fact sheets for both the OPPS and PFS proposed rules are also available. CHA is currently analyzing the proposed rules and will provide members with additional information in CHA News tomorrow.

Profile

Amber Ott
Vice President, Strategic Financing Initiatives

Amber Ott represents members’ financial interests related to Medicare, Medi-Cal, commercial payers and other government entities. She is responsible for providing advocacy and support on financial and reimbursement issues affecting California hospitals and health systems, and represents CHA with state agencies and other stakeholders where hospital finance and technical knowledge is needed. 

Amber is also involved with the development and implementation of the hospital fee and other financing programs.

1215 K Street, Suite 800
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 443-7401
(916) 552-7669 Direct
Overview

Workforce

California hospitals are concerned about the need for an adequate supply of highly skilled health professionals to meet the demands for health care services now and in the future. Numerous studies have been completed that validate the need to address critical health professional shortages in nursing and the allied health occupations.  However, efforts to implement recommended strategies have been hindered by a lack of a coordinated statewide effort involving health employers, as well as other necessary partners.

In response to the need for focus on this issue and the need for statewide solutions, CHA established the CHA Workforce Committee in 2007. Members of the committee include a broad cross-section of California’s hospitals, both urban and rural, and also represent the various geographic regions of the state. The committee has been focused primarily on allied health professional shortages, but in 2013 broadened its mission and focus to include supporting various statewide nursing and physician shortage initiatives. The committee recognizes that current challenges in the area of health workforce will be exacerbated by an aging population and implementation of the Affordable Care Act and is dedicated to working as a group and with other stakeholders to develop and implement solutions that will address the numerous barriers that constrict the supply of health care professionals in California.

CHA News Article

Report Shows 1.4 Million Californians Employed in Health Care in 2015

The California Health Care Foundation has released a new report on the health care workforce in California. According to the report, 1.4 million Californians were employed in health care in 2015; of that number, 55 percent were employed in ambulatory settings, 25 percent in hospitals, and 20 percent in nursing or residential care facilities. Between 2012 and 2015, the number of pharmacists and physician assistants grew by 17 percent and 37 percent, respectively. Additionally, the supply of occupational and physical therapists increased over that period, as did the number of medical/clinical lab technicians. However, California’s supply of clinical laboratory scientists remained stable, and the state’s number of speech-language pathologists decreased slightly. The report notes that an aging population, population growth and federal health reform will likely contribute to increased workforce demand.

CHA News Article

New Workforce Commission to Address State’s Health Care Staffing Needs
Focus will be on primary care, mental health and the aging population

A new workforce commission has been convened, with funding support from Blue Shield of California, the California Health Care Foundation, The California Endowment and the California Wellness Foundation. The California Future Health Workforce Commission – comprised of leaders in the health, education and workforce development sectors – was created to help the state close the gap between the current workforce and future needs. Commissioners will meet over the next 15 months to develop a strategic plan for building California’s health care workforce and will establish short, medium and long-term solutions for the state, its educational institutions, employers and other stakeholders. The commission is co-chaired by Janet Napolitano, JD, president, University of California, and Lloyd Dean, MA, president/CEO, Dignity Health. For more information, visit https://futurehealthworkforce.org/.

CHA News Article

Behavioral Health Workforce Research Center Releases New Studies

The Behavioral Health Workforce Research Center has released two studies to help inform workforce development and planning, as related to the prevention and treatment of mental health and substance use disorders. The first study found that care integration appears to be most effectively implemented in organizations that foster a strong culture of collaboration, including employee engagement through orientation and training programs. Recognizing that a diverse workforce contributes to greater patient satisfaction, the second study seeks to identify organizational barriers to recruiting and retaining behavioral health workers representing racial, ethnic and sexuality minority groups. Specific factors include work location, organizational mission, job security and flexible work schedules affect recruitment and retention.

CHA News Article

Hospital Training Programs Reminded to Apply for Song-Brown Funding

As previously reported in CHA News, the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development will release applications for the Song-Brown Healthcare Workforce Training Programs July 18 for family medicine, Aug. 2 for family nurse practitioners/physician assistants and Oct. 3 for registered nurses. Currently, 42 family medicine residency programs, nine primary care residency programs, 33 registered nurse education programs and 18 family nurse practitioner/physician assistant programs receive ongoing support from the Song-Brown program to improve access to health care services. For a complete list of application dates and deadlines, as well as webinar dates and other important information, visit www.oshpd.ca.gov/HWDD/Song-Brown-Program.html.

Established in 1973 to increase the number of family physicians serving Californians, the program encourages universities and primary care health professionals to provide health care in medically underserved areas by financially supporting primary care and family practice residency programs in hospital and health care settings throughout California. It does not provide funding to individual students.

CHA News Article

Community Colleges Emphasize Key ‘Soft Skills’ in Health Care Training Programs
Hospitals apply curriculum to nurse residency, volunteer programs

The CHA Workforce Committee has long advocated for the need to develop industry specific “soft skills” training that can be embedded in health professions training programs, as well as used by employers with their existing workforce. Critical skills such as problem solving, teamwork, professionalism, ethics, compassion and communication are necessary for health professionals and are central to patient-centered care, regardless of an employee’s position in the health care setting.

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