5 Things California: New CalAIM populations, Care collaboration, Maternal health disparities


Eli Kirshbaum


We are less than a week out from our 2022 Northern California State of Reform Health Policy Conference! The conference will feature 16 breakout sessions, 3 keynotes, and over 60 curated speakers who will discuss some of the most pressing and impactful issues facing California’s health care system.

This edition of “5 Things We’re Watching” features a handful of the conversations that we are looking forward to hosting on March 23. If you haven’t already registered, we’d love to have you join us!

Eli Kirshbaum
State of Reform 


1. Managing newly eligible CalAIM populations

Through the CalAIM initiative, significant new patient populations including justice-involved individuals were added to Medi-Cal. Our “Managing newly eligible CalAIM populations” panel will discuss how these new populations will impact state health care and how the different silos can approach providing care.

This panel of thought leaders will include Rafael Gonzalez-Amezcua, M.D., chief medical officer of Aetna Better Health of California, Fiona Donald, M.D., chief medical officer of San Francisco Health Plan, Makayla James, statewide policy manager at California Youth Connection, and Kyle Stefano, vice president of clinical programs at Sacramento Covered.


2. Legislators shaping health policy

Some of the most important legislators shaping health policy will join us at the conference on March 23. On our “Policy Leadership: Republicans” panel we’ll hear from Asm. Jim Patterson, member of the Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Health and Human Services, and Asm. Marie Waldron, vice chair of the Assembly Committee on Health.

Joining us on our “Policy Leadership: Democrats” panel will be Sen. Scott Wiener, member of the Senate Health Committee, and Sen. Sydney Kamlager, member of the Senate Human Services Committee. They’ll be joined by Asm. Mia Bonta, member of the Assembly Committee on Human Services, and Asm. Cecilia Aguiar-Curry, chair of the Assembly Committee on Local Government.


3. Next steps in funding health equity

Health equity conversations in California are shifting beyond just recognizing the existence of inequities and are now focusing on funding solutions to improve these disparities. This panel of subject matter experts will discuss how funding can be used to help bridge the many equity gaps that exist in California health care.

Joining us on our “Next steps in funding health equity” panel will be Moira Kenney, regional network director, West Coast, Unite Us, Pooja Mittal, M.D., medical director of population health equity at Health Net, and Mar Velez, state policy senior manager at the Latino Coalition for a Healthy California.


4. Innovations in care collaboration

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of thoughtful coordination across health care sectors and silos. We’re very much looking forward to bringing together this panel of leaders to hear about how health care and community organizations are collaborating and coordinating in new and innovative ways. These panelists will discuss how this work takes shape, the implications for quality care moving forward, and how we can foster new ideas.

Our “Innovations in care collaboration” panel will bring together Asm. Adrin Nazarian, member of the Assembly Committee on Health, Shruti Kothari, director of industry initiatives, health care reform at Blue Shield of California, and Crystal Eubanks, senior director of care redesign and the California Quality Collaborative at PBGH.


5. How are we addressing maternal health disparities?

Despite an overall reduction in maternal mortality rates in California, the data is clear that maternal and infant health outcomes still vary widely based on race and ethnicity. At the conference next week, our “How are we addressing maternal health disparities?” breakout session will discuss the work to measure and address these variations, and will talk through the implications of this work for the broader system.

Beth Stewart, M.D., plan performance medical director at Anthem Blue Cross Medicaid, Alinea Stevens, M.D., medical director at Chapa-De Indian Health, and Shelley Dyer, senior program officer at Sierra Health Foundation will join this multi-perspective panel. Kellie Todd Griffin, senior vice president of communications & external affairs at California Health Medical Reserve Corps, will moderate the discussion.