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Public Health Care Systems Laud Governor Newsom’s Health Care Investments in State Budget

OAKLAND, CA, January 10, 2020 – The California Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems (CAPH) applauds Governor Gavin Newsom’s FY 2020-2021 Budget proposal, which demonstrates his strong commitment to improving the Medi-Cal program, expanding health care coverage, and addressing homelessness.

The Governor proposed $695 million to fund Medi-Cal Healthier California for All, a broad delivery system reform initiative that aims to provide more coordinated and holistic care for California’s most vulnerable residents.

“California’s 21 public health care systems have long cared for complex and vulnerable patient populations. We are proud to serve as a lynchpin for the success of the Governor’s Medi-Cal proposals, drawing on our mission and deep expertise with complex patient care,” said Erica Murray, CEO and President of CAPH.

To better integrate services and address the social determinants of health, Medi-Cal Healthier California for All will build upon the work underway in Whole Person Care, which are local pilots, often led by public health care systems, providing comprehensive and tailored care to high-risk and complex patients.

“Through Whole Person Care, counties and public health care systems coordinate care for patients who are homeless, at risk of being without a home, or facing other hardships,” said Murray. “Expanding services, such as housing, and behavioral health care, is critical. We are pleased to see this as a central component of the Governor’s Medi-Cal initiative.”

As federal waiver programs for public health care systems expire in 2020, Medi-Cal Healthier California for All will play a key role in this transition. For more than a decade, waiver programs have served as the primary driver and funding source for public health care systems’ Medi-Cal delivery system reform efforts, leading to significant improvements in patient outcomes. Given the central role of public health care systems to the state’s safety net, the transition away from these funds towards Medi-Cal Healthier California for All must protect public health care systems’ financial stability.

“We look forward to partnering with the Governor on the successful implementation of Medi-Cal Healthier California for All, and ensuring that public health care systems and counties have solid financial footing to provide care to all who need it,” said Murray.

In a related effort, the Governor proposed $750 million to establish the California Access to Housing and Services Fund to address California’s housing crisis. This proposal complements the whole-person care approach in the new Medi-Cal initiative and recognizes the connection between housing and health.

The Governor also demonstrated his ongoing commitment to improve access to care by proposing to extend Medi-Cal eligibility to individuals 65 years of age or older, regardless of immigration status, moving the state one step closer to universal coverage. This policy follows a similar law, effective this month, which extends Medi-Cal benefits to young adults without legal status up to 26 years of age.

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About the California Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems

The California Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems (CAPH) represents California’s 21 public health care systems, which include county-affiliated systems and the five University of California academic medical centers. Together, these systems form the core of the state’s health care safety net. Though accounting for just 6% of hospitals in the state, public health care systems operate in 15 counties where more than 80% of the state’s population lives. They provide 40% of all hospital care to California’s remaining uninsured and 35% of all hospital care to Medi-Cal beneficiaries in the communities they serve. These 21 health care systems serve 2.85 million patients annually, operate more than 200 outpatient clinic facilities, and provide more than 10 million outpatient visits each year. They operate more than half of California’s top-level burn and trauma centers, and train more than half of all new doctors in hospitals across the state. For more information, visit www.caph.org

Media Contact:

Megan Renfrew
Director of Communications