Omnibus health trailer bill approved by Gov. Brown

Governor Brown approved the Omnibus Health Trailer Bill last week. The bill makes revisions to various health care programs in order to implement the 2018-19 state budget.

Among the many changes introduced in the bill are several new health care councils and programs. Specifically, the bill directs the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD) to create the Health Care Cost Transparency Database. The database will bring together information from health insurers, health care services plans, and other payers to increase payment and pricing transparency and to inform policy decisions.

The bill also “establishes the intent of the Legislature” to provide health coverage through a single financing system and creates the Council on Health Care Delivery System to develop a plan to implement health care delivery system changes.

Also included in the health trailer bill is an expansion of the Black Infant Health Program, which uses evidence-based strategies to prevent black infant mortality and preterm births. The bill establishes the California Perinatal Equity Initiative to provide funding to county health departments to improve their birth outcomes. The bill also extends treatment for individuals in the state-funded Breast and Cervical Cancer treatment Program and authorizes an “Incompetent to Stand Trial Mental Health Diversion” program.

Other key health care revisions in the bill include in increase in the general loan authority of the Department of Health Care Services from $1 billion to $2 billion to operate Medi-Cal in years where there is a deficiency, and a removal of the sunset provisions for authorizing needle exchange programs in the state. The bill also directs Covered California to develop options to financially assist low/middle-income residents in accessing health care.

The bill was approved by the Governor on June 27 and chaptered by the Secretary of State that same day. The full text of the bill can be found here.