5 Things California: Budget scenario, DHCS update, Modernizing public health

With our 2020 Southern California State of Reform Health Policy Conference next week, we wanted to highlight some of the key sessions you’ll see on the Topical Agenda for Tuesday. It makes sense, I think, as the things we are following in California health care and which we write about in this newsletter are also things that are teed up at next week’s conference.

So, if you want to join about 300 of your closest friends in California health care, we’d love to have you register to be with us for this virtual event on December 8th!





With help from Emily Boerger

1. What we know now about the social determinants

Social determinants are important to one’s health status and it’s clear these impacts are differentiated across demographics. As social, economic and other pressures build from a tumultuous 2020, how are people of color facing a more complicated set of circumstances than other cohorts? Our panel of experts will take up this complex and nuanced set of topics at the conference on Tuesday.

This panel will feature Abner Mason, CEO at ConsejoSano, Kelly Bruno, CEO at the National Health Foundation, and Beau Henneman, Director of Special Programs at Anthem BlueCross.


2. Reviewing the FY2022 budget scenario

The state budget is facing uncertainty. Steep deficits have given way to the hope of a narrower shortfall, while hope for a rapid “v-shaped recovery” has moved aside for a longer term effort. We are very much looking forward to our budget panel next week which will discuss potential budget cuts, the future of the California economy, and what the bottom line will be for policy makers next year.

Asm. Phil Ting, Chair of the Assembly Budget Committee, and Asm. Joaquin Arambula, MD, Chair of the Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Health and Human Services, will bring a legislative perspective to the conversation. Jedd Hampton, Legislative Advocate at the California Association of Health Plans, will also offer his perspective.

3. Update from DHCS

This afternoon breakout session at the State of Reform will feature senior figures from the Department of Health Care Services as they update our audience on the initiatives and work underway at the agency and their plans for 2021. Be sure to bring your questions to what is always a well-attended and highly interactive conversation.

We’ll hear from Jacey Cooper, Chief Deputy Director and State Medicaid Director at DHCS, along with Lindy Harrington, Deputy Director of Health Care Financing at the agency. Also joining the conversation will be Kelly Pfeifer, MD, Deputy Director of Behavioral Health, and Rene Mollow, Deputy Director of Eligibility and Benefits.


4. Telehealth in the post-COVID age

The utilization of telehealth tools during the COVID-19 pandemic has been catalyzed in a way no other effort has been able to since the advent of the model more than 20 years ago. So, what do we make of telehealth, our experience with it in this crisis, and how things will work after COVID recedes?

Offering their expertise on our “Telehealth in the post-COVID age” panel will be David Goldberg, Director of Product Strategy at Blue Shield of California, Chris Daher, Vice President of Network Strategy at Beacon Health Options, and Todd May, MD, Senior Medical Director at Health Net of California.

5. Modernizing the public health system

The COVID-19 pandemic has clearly demonstrated the importance of a strong, modern, and adequately funded public health system. So, what fundamental reforms should policy makers and advocates be considering in order to modernize a system that needs it? Our panel, “Modernizing the public health system” will discuss what reform of our public health system could look like and what we might need to better prepare for the next pandemic.

Joining us for this discussion will be Michelle Gibbons, Executive Director of the County Health Executives Association of California, Van Do-Reynoso, PhD, Director of the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department, and Wilma Wooten, MD, Public Health Officer for San Diego County HHSA.