Vital Times 2021 - 18

ADVOCACY
On Your Behalf
Antonio Hernandez Conte, MD, MBA, FASA
W
ith 2022 now here,
we have much to
reflect on with
regard to the activities and
initiatives in the Legislative
Affairs and Practice
Management Division.
Felipe Perez, MD, and Jenni
Bartlotti-Telesz, MD, FASA,
have diligently led the
Legislative Affairs Committee on numerous initiatives.
Chris Tirce, MD, FASA, and Todd Primack, MD, FASA,
have been industriously creating new work practice
management products that benefit CSA members.
Despite the ever-persistent COVID-19 pandemic, the
start of 2021 brought a busy legislative session and
debate over the 2021-2022 State Budget. In January
2021, Governor Gavin Newsom proposed his initial
$222.2 billion budget, which highlighted his focus on
reducing health care costs. In his budget, Governor
Newsom proposed establishing a new " Office of
Health Care Affordability " (OHCA) to improve price
transparency and identify potential health care
savings. Governor Newsom and the Legislature
agreed to $64 million in General Funds to support
the work of the OHCA over the next four years. The
specific duties, functions, and responsibilities of the
OHCA will either be amended into AB 1130, authored
by Assembly Health Committee Chair Jim Wood,
D.D.S. (D-Santa Rosa), which is currently pending in
the Senate Health Committee, or amended into the
2022-2023 state budget.
At the same time, Governor Newsom proposed -
and the Legislature agreed to - expanding Medi-Cal
coverage to an estimated 27,000 undocumented
seniors over the age of 65 at a cost of $64.2 million
a year. Throughout the 2021-2022 state budget
process, CSA was engaged in many discussions
with key legislators and senior staff ensuring that
anesthesiologists' priorities and concerns were wellrepresented.
CSA's
major legislative initiative for 2021 centered
on providing access for mental health services
for all frontline health care workers in California,
including physician anesthesiologists providing
critical care needs during the COVID-19 pandemic.
AB 562 was authored by Assemblymembers Evan
Low (D-Campbell) and Heath Flora (R-Ripon). This
important measure is being co-sponsored by CSA,
along with the United Nurses Association of California
(UNAC), and CMA. AB 562 addresses workforce
burnout, resiliency, and wellness by requiring the
Director of the California Department of Consumer
Affairs to establish a mental health resiliency program
to provide mental health services to licensed health
care workers who provide or have been providing
consistent patient care services throughout the
pandemic and beyond. The bill would require the
relevant licensing boards to notify licensees and
solicit applications for access to the program
immediately upon the availability of services. AB 562
is currently pending in the Senate Appropriations
Committee as CSA and the other co-sponsors work
with the Newsom administration to find and dedicate
general fund resources to support the program. It's
18 | CSA Vital Times

Vital Times 2021

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https://www.nxtbook.com/allen/csvt/vital-times-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/allen/csvt/2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/allen/csvt/2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/allen/csvt/2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/allen/csvt/2017
https://www.nxtbook.com/allen/csvt/2016
https://www.nxtbook.com/allen/csvt/2015
https://www.nxtbook.com/allen/csvt/2014
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