5 Things California: CalAIM, What You Missed, Scott Suckow

We had a great event yesterday at our 2019 Los Angeles State of Reform Health Policy Conference! With about 250 folks in the room, it was a very strong cross-section of senior leaders. The conversations and panel discussions informed much of what we’re watching in California health care in September 2019, which you’ll see below.


With help from Emily Boerger



1. CalAIM and the next 1115 waiver

Some of the hallway buzz in LA yesterday included the news that DHCS is anticipated to release a draft 1115 waiver proposal at the end of October. The current waiver expires in December 2020. In the absence of an extension or a new waiver, a range of programs will lose funding, and potentially the legal authority to exist.

Ahead of that, DHCS has launched CalAIM, a stakeholder engagement initiative that will run into next year. It’s looking for volunteers for five work groups it’s building in five areas: behavioral health, full integration pilots, NCQA accreditation, enhanced care management and ‘in-lieu-of’ services, and population health management. To participate, fill out this form by Sept. 27th to be considered.

2. Highlights from LA; topics for SD

Yesterday’s conference in Los Angeles had very good energy, attendance, and creativity. As always, the hallway conversations were as useful as the panel discussions were, which were very strong. You can check out the highlights in this short reel, or track the #stateofreform hashtag for insights from the day. We’ll have our keynote sessions ready for you in the next newsletter.

Later today, our attention turns to our San Diego conference. That conference is coming up on December 3rd, though our Convening Panel meets later today. You can take a look at the Discussion Guide for today’s conversation. The important page is the last one, page 5. It reflects what we’ve heard from stakeholders about what should be on the agenda come December. If we’re missing something, let me know and we’ll get the ideas into the conversation mix.

3. ICYMI: Jennifer Kent’s resignation

Last week, we broke the news of Jennifer Kent’s resignation as the head of DHCS. It was a big move, but not unanticipated by a number of Sacramento insiders. Don’t buy into the hype about a Facebook post being a trigger. This move was a long time coming, and probably inevitable.

Kent is a good administrator who knows the ropes in and out of government. She’ll land on her feet – either in California or as the head of a state agency somewhere else. But, she wasn’t a fit with Gov. Newsom. The Gov’s office was sometimes working around DHCS to push MCOs on accountability. And, Newsom’s commitment to a single payer model didn’t fit well with Kent, who understands the regulatory challenges the policy faces.

4. Video: Scott Suckow, ALF

Scott Suckow is the Executive Director of the American Liver Foundation, Pacific Coast Division. ALF promotes advocacy, education, support services and research for the prevention, treatment and cure of liver disease. Suckow joins us in this edition of “What They’re Watching” to discuss incorporating single organ care into whole person care.

“With the American Liver Foundation, what we’re looking at is how can we have a broader conversation where we can talk about liver health and wellness, as well as a more comprehensive look at whole person care?… If I’m only speaking narrow to my field then I don’t really have an opportunity to have participation and I can’t create change within the sector. If I can broaden the discussion and have more opportunity for engagement, then we can have a very different conversation.”


5. LA Care/Blue Shield joint $146m investment

LA Care and Blue Shield of California Promise Health Plan announced a joint $146 million dollar investment to expand Community Resource Centers across Los Angeles County. The new resource centers will offer services like health screenings, tele-health, and connections to social service resources.

The announcement created a lot of chatter yesterday, including a panel where it was discussed in detail. The takeaways: Consider these infrastructure investments by the plans to address the social determinants of health in LA County. It also re-solidifies Promise Health Plan as one of LA Care’s key partners heading into a tumultuous 12-18 months in Medi-Cal.