5 Things California: State budget, Medi-Cal wave, Racism in health care

We are super excited to be hosting our 2020 Northern California State of Reform Virtual Health Policy Conference in two weeks! You’ll see the registration rate is about 50% off our normal price for State of Reform, so I hope you will consider joining us.

Since March, we’ve built a unique virtual platform that is, I think, unlike any other virtual conference experience you’ll see in California. We’ve tried to create the same opportunities for “hallway” interactions, speaker engagement, and networking that you’d expect from our normal events – but with new tools from the digital age.

Early registrants will be able to get into the event starting next week to “kick around” in the conference experience. All sessions will be available to registrants for 30 days after the conference. So, rather than State of Reform being a one-day event, it’ll now be an opportunity to learn and connect over a month!

So, our newsletter this week features five sessions that will be unique to State of Reform, and which I think captures the diversity of the voices and the content which you’ll see in two weeks.





With help from Emily Boerger

1. Reviewing the evolving budget situation

California’s economic situation continues to be uncertain, leaving questions about tax revenues and budget cuts an open topic for discussion in Sacramento. Our “Reviewing the evolving budget situation” panel at the 2020 NorCal State of Reform Virtual Conference will feature a discussion with policymakers and health care advocates on where the budget conversation is going and what that could mean for the remainder of 2020.

This panel will feature Senator Holly Mitchell, Chair of the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee in the California State Legislature, and Janus Norman, Senior Vice President at the California Medical Association. Also speaking on the panel is Micah Weinberg, CEO of California Forward.

2. Racism in health care: institutions and outcomes

A conversation about race and racism is sweeping America, and the health care sector is actively playing a part in the discussion. Our panel of experts will discuss how racism is baked into America’s institutions and the impact that has on outcomes, access, and equity.

Speaking on our “Racism in health care: institutions and outcomes” panel is Mayra Alvarez, President of the Children’s Partnership, Cassandra Jennings, CEO of Greater Sacramento Urban League, and Flojaune Cofer, PhD, Senior Director of Policy at Public Health Advocates. Lisa Chan-Sawin, CEO at Transform Health, will moderate the conversation.

3. Behavioral health and the pandemic

As pressures from the public health pandemic and the economic crisis continue to increase, the importance of access to behavioral health services and the connection to the safety net will be critical. This session, “Behavioral health and the pandemic: What we’ve learned,” will review the data, survey policy options, and discuss strategies for California moving forward.

Kelly Pfeifer, MD, Deputy Director of Behavioral Health at DHCS, and Le Ondra Clark Harvey, PhD, Director of Policy and Legislative Affairs at the California Council of Community Behavioral Health Agencies, will offer their insights. Randall Hager, Director of Government Affairs at the California Psychiatric Association, will also speak on the panel, and Brenda Gleason, President of M2 Health Care Consulting, will moderate the discussion.


4. How new technology is re-shaping health care

Substantive changes in health care are being driven by health technology, and with COVID, the logic of technology and digital tools is even clearer. So, what can we expect from these new innovations, and what will that mean for the business model of health care? Our panelists will dig into the weeds and explore the issue from a variety of angles.

We’ll hear from L. Gordon Moore, MD, Senior Medical Director, Population & Payment Solutions at 3M Health Information Systems. Also offering their perspectives will be Steve Robertson, Chief Information Officer at Hawaii Pacific Health, and Todd May, MD, Senior Medical Director, Commercial, at Health Net. Moderating the conversation will be Dave Ford, Vice President of Health Information Technology at the California Medical Association.


5. Preparing for the wave in Medi-Cal

With the economic crisis building, Medi-Cal may soon face a significant spike in enrollment, putting the state and plan systems to the test. At the conference on August 18th, our panel, “Preparing for the wave in Medi-Cal” will discuss the topic and what California may expect from the wave ahead.

Joining the conversation will be Mike Witte, MD, Chief Medical Officer at the California Primary Care Association, Abbie Totten, Medi-Cal Program Officer at Health Net, and Laurel Lucia, Director of the Health Care Program at the UC Berkeley Center on Labor.