Vital Times 2020 - 23

" We must lower expectations about our budget
outlook to reflect our new reality. With state
revenues likely being dramatically reduced in
the coming year, I do not believe we will have
resources to fund many Member priorities this
year, beyond a small few that deal with the
response and recovery to COVID-19. "

The Senate also created a dedicated Special
Committee on Pandemic Emergency Response,
chaired by Senator Lena Gonzalez (D-Long Beach) and
vice-chaired by Senator Pat Bates (R-Laguna Niguel).
According to the April 15, 2020 announcement from
the Office of Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins:
" The Special Committee on Pandemic
Emergency Response, a bipartisan committee
of eleven senators, is tasked with reviewing
the state's response to the COVID-19 health
crisis - what has gone right and what could
be improved. The committee also will make
findings and recommendations for future
preparedness if the coronavirus returns later
in the year, or if the state faces a subsequent
pandemic. "

The U.S. Congress failed to reach an agreement and
act on a multi-billion-dollar COVID relief package
for California by October 15, 2020, resulting in $11
billion of state " trigger " cuts for this current budget
year. Although California tax receipts are ahead of
projections, state budget insiders are predicting
at least $9 billion in necessary cuts heading into
the 2021-2022 budget cycle. CSA will be closely
monitoring the budget actions as they unfold into
2021.
Members of the Legislature, their staff, and even
personnel with the Governor's Office have tested
positive for COVID. It appears the Legislature will
continue with virtual and remote session and
governance protocols well into 2021.

CSA-Sponsored AB 72 " Fix " AB 2157
(Wood) Signed by Governor Newsom
CSA's legislative and advocacy priority for the 2020
year was to gain passage of a bill that would " fix "
the flawed independent dispute resolution process
(IDRP) related to AB 72 (Bonta). Through a massive
team effort coordinated by KP Affairs, AMG, and
our dedicated CSA physicians, CSA launched a
wide-reaching grassroots campaign to educate our
legislators about AB 2157, as well as our presence on
the frontlines of the COVID pandemic.
Overcoming many obstacles, CSA was able to gain
favorable support from the Assembly and Senate;
Governor Newsom signed into law CSA-sponsored AB
2157, authored by the Assembly Health Committee
Chair Jim Wood (D-Santa Rosa).
AB 2157 codifies recent sub-regulatory guidance
issued by the California Department of Managed
Health Care (DMHC) and provides further balance
between physicians and health plans and/or insurers
over billing and payment disputes for out-of-network
healthcare services provided at an in-network facility.
That new guidance issued by the DMHC is a direct
result of persistent CSA efforts petitioning the DMHC
to provide more clarity in terms of what information
needs to be considered in these payment disputes.
We have already heard that the new guidance has
resulted in fairer decisions in favor of our CSA
members.
As previously mentioned, the Legislature had to
significantly pare down the number of bills they
considered this year. Of the approximately 3,000 bills
introduced, AB 2157 made the cut and was able to
garner bipartisan and unanimous support throughout
the process.

Annual Publication 2020

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