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May Revision Provides Critical Funding for Public Health Care Systems and Advances Equity in Medi-Cal

OAKLAND, CA, May 14, 2021 – The California Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems (CAPH) applauds Governor Newsom’s May Revision for the 2021-22 Budget, which includes dedicated funding to support public health care systems’ critical safety net services and other key initiatives that advance equity in Medi-Cal.

In recognition of public health care systems’ ongoing COVID-19 response efforts and the need to maintain these systems’ vital infrastructure, the May Revision includes $300 million as a one-time investment to “help public health care systems cover costs associated with critical care delivery needs provided during and beyond the pandemic.”

“This crucial funding offsets public health care systems’ unreimbursed costs associated with the increase in Medi-Cal fee-for-service COVID-19 hospitalizations. We commend the Governor for his support, and look forward to working with the Legislature and Administration to ensure that public health care systems can continue to serve low-income communities on a daily basis, and in times of crisis,” said Erica Murray, President and CEO, CAPH.

The Governor also demonstrated a clear commitment to improving health care quality and outcomes for vulnerable Californians through the inclusion of $1.6 billion to implement California Advancing and Innovating Medi-Cal (CalAIM), a broad delivery system and payment reform initiative that aims to integrate services and address the social determinants of health for those most in need. Whole Person Care (WPC) pilots, often led by local public health care systems, serves as the foundation of this new initiative. CalAIM seeks to build off and expand WPC’s holistic, comprehensive, and tailored care model for high-risk and complex patients.

“Whole Person Care has improved care for those most in need, including those with severe mental illness, who are homeless or at risk of being without a home, and who face other hardships. The pandemic has only amplified the importance of these kinds of resources and services in our communities. Public health care systems will continue to work with the State to facilitate a seamless transition of this program,” said Murray.

Other important equity advancements in the May Revision include $1 billion to support coverage expansion for adults aged 60 and older; significant investments in behavioral health; an unprecedented effort to tackle homelessness; the expansion of Medi-Cal postpartum coverage; efforts to address population health; the inclusion of community health workers as Medi-Cal providers; and the continuation of certain telehealth services to ensure this important care modality can continue beyond the pandemic.

“Over the past year, we have seen how telehealth provides a pathway to more equitable care. For Medi-Cal and other at-risk patients who face unique barriers to care, phone visits in particular are a convenient and accessible way for patients to connect with their provider. We must work together to prevent disruptions in telehealth services when the federal public health emergency period ends in December, and we look forward to continuing our dialogue with the Administration and Legislature on this issue,” said Murray.

“We also encourage additional dialogue between the Legislature and the Administration to ensure long-term support for public health infrastructure,” said Murray.