5 Things California: What You Missed, Asm. Wendy Carrillo, Anthem fire resources

It was great to see many of you at our Southern California event last week. If you missed us, we’ll be back in Sacramento May 9th so mark it down and drop us a line if there is something you’re interested in talking about. In the meantime, below we have some of our keynotes and speaker presentations that you may have missed in San Diego!

Marjie High
State of Reform


1. What you missed at State of Reform last month

Last week we hosted our 2018 Southern California State of Reform Health Policy Conference in San Diego, bringing together attendees from across the silos of health care.  If you weren’t able to make it to the conference, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. You can check out this highlight video from the conference to get a feel for the sights, sounds and energy from the event, and you can view the speaker presentations as well.

We’ve also captured our keynote discussions and presentations for you to review. We began the day with an Executive Keynote Panel featuring Care1st CEO Dr. Greg Buchert, 2-1-1 San Diego’s VP of Health and Community Impact Karis Grounds, Director of San Diego County HHSA Nick Macchione, and OCHIN CEO Abby Sears. Colm O’Comartun, Principal at 50 State in DC, rounded out the day offering remarks during our afternoon keynote.


2.  Asm. Gonzalez Fletcher calls for big actions on health care

Lunch featured a rousing keynote with Asm. Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, Chair of the Assembly Appropriations Committee. While the full keynote is definitely worth your time, we have distilled the best parts into five minutes of highlights for your busy schedule. It is hard to deny Gonzalez Fletcher’s enthusiasm for the new Democratic super-majority or her pride at San Diego’s growing influence in the state capital. But she explained that though the moderate versus progressive narrative is easy to adopt, 2019 legislative divides will not be that cut and dry.

Drawing from her personal experience, Gonzalez Fletcher shared her conviction that for working class and poor communities,”health care changes your life!” She explained that California has been ahead of the curve and now it is up to Governor-elect Newsom to act big to expand health coverage. She also highlighted the environment, property tax reform, and empowerment of the working class as hot button issues moving into the 2019 session. For more, watch the Lunch Keynote highlights here.


3.  AG approves Dignity and CHI merger – with conditions

The $28.4 bil merger of California-based Dignity Health and CHI Health received conditional approval from the California DOJ last week, paving the way for another large health care merger. Critics of such consolidation contend that similar arrangements have driven up prices, lowered quality, and restricted patient access to care.

In its approval, the Attorney General’s office addressed these concerns by requiring the newly formed CommonSpirit Health to adhere to 22 conditions related to maintaining access facilities and services to move forward. The entity is also required to expand access to low income Californians by creating a $20 mil Homeless Health Initiative and significantly increasing its financial assistance limits to 250 percent of federal poverty line. You can look at all the AG’s conditions here.


4. Video: Assemblymember Wendy Carrillo

Assemblymember Wendy Carrillo is a member of the California Assembly Committee on Health. She joins us in this edition of “What They’re Watching” to discuss mental healthcare in the Los Angeles community.

“We have young people in my district, high school students, who are afraid and have anxiety and depression because of the national shootings across high schools — and that’s very real. We have undocumented parents who are anxious about taking their kids to school because they fear they will get detained and deported… So, mental health wraparound services for the most vulnerable communities is very real.”


5. Anthem provides resources for Californians impacted by wildfires

California experienced record-breaking wildfires this year, the health impacts of which can stay around long after the fires are under control. In the wake of tragedy, Anthem Blue Cross is stepping up to provide the people impacted by the wildfires with much-needed medical services.

Anthem is extending filing deadlines, suspending early prescription-refill limits, and allowing free access to help through two channels. Its LiveHealth Online platform, which provides remote access to doctors, therapists, and psychologists, is temporarily available at no cost to Californians, regardless of insurance coverage. And its Employee Assistance Program crisis line is lending free help with “emotionally stressful situations as well as with financial and legal concerns.”