April 25, 2019
To the Butte-Glenn Medical Society community –
Participating in CMA's Advocacy day is always interesting! All members are encouraged to participate and amplify physicians' voices at our State Capitol. In partnership with our neighboring county medical associations, we were able to meet with Assembly Member Jim Gallagher, Senator Nielson and a lead staff member of Senator Dahle's office. In particular, Butte-Glenn Medical Society wanted to show our letter of support for AB 430 which we are sending to the Chico City Council in hopes that we can ameliorate the housing problems and access to care issues post-Camp Fire.
I was joined by Dr. Sean Liston, Immediate Past President, and Kristy Bird MaKieve, Executive Director. We first gathered at the Sacramento Convention Center to discuss CMA's advocacy priorities. The goals for this year are "Public Healthy," as described by Janus Norman, CMA's Sr. Vice President of the Centers on Government Relations, Federal Government Relations and Political Operations. We heard the good news that AB 1038 (Muratsuchi) was shelved. AB 1038 is called "Health data: rates for health care services: physicians and surgeons" and was tantamount to rate setting.
CMA Advocacy Day focused on AB 764 (Bonta) regarding marketing for more healthy products and SB 276 (Pan) which focused on medical exemptions for immunizations. AB 890 (Wood) promotes independent nurse practitioners with the intent to increase healthcare access in rural areas but lacks critical details for competency assessment. In addition, data shows that independent nurse practitioners in other states are less likely to provide care in rural areas where providers are needed most. As Dr. Liston aptly pointed out in our meeting at Senator Dahle's office, "We want access to care, not access to inadequate care."
Prop. 56 funds were also part of discussions at the Capitol and by Governor Newsom, who was the keynote speaker at lunch back at the Convention Center. Newson prepared a budget that more fully funds Prop. 56, to the tune of 3x more than the past 2 years under Governor Brown. Now, the 2019-2020 budget is in the midst of preparing for May Revise. Newsom calls this the "healthcare budget" and noted that healthcare is the biggest expense we will all face in the future. He promised to work to ensure Prop. 56 funds are provided. He promised more funds for residency programs.
Newsom mentioned that one of his orders of business when he became governor was to address prescription drug costs by creating a greater volume purchasing agreements with the University of California, CalPERS and many others. Other states are also reaching out to join. Governor Newsom promised to reinstate the ACA's individual mandates.
Newsom also mentioned his dedication to homelessness. He cited that California has 24% of the homeless population in the US, which is the highest of all states.
The Capitol was packed with a variety of groups advocating for various causes. There was a Health Committee hearing at 1:30 pm. Dr. Pan was there and physicians were asked to support him and efforts to ensure vaccination exemptions are for those who truly need the exemptions.
Dr. Liston and I were able to talk to Assembly Member Gallagher about the housing and access to care issues in Butte County. We provided him with a copy of Butte-Glenn Medical Society's support for AB 430 which has not been approved by the Chico City Council. This letter will be posted on our website today.
We plan to have in-district meetings with our representatives this summer. We encourage physicians to become members so you can join us.
Also, all BGMS/CMA members can share advocacy thoughts 24/7 by texting doclobby to 52886. This new feature is for members only and you are encouraged to have your voice heard!
It's exciting to hear about legislation in real time, and to know that physicians have a say in legislation.
David Alonso, MD