There is no doubt that California has led the nation in health care reform and become a model for others to follow. Our success with outreach and enrollment efforts has led to millions of Californians now having much-needed health care coverage. Community health centers played a vital role in our state’s enrollment efforts and continue to serve as a place to access health care services. While this is great news for everyone, there is more work to be done if we want to meet our mission of delivering timely, high-quality care to those who are most in need. That is why the California Primary Care Association (CPCA) has put forth an aggressive legislative agenda this year that will continue to improve the health of our patients and communities.

Continuing our Health For All journey is our first priority. Ensuring coverage and access for all Californians is at the heart of the health center mission. This year, CPCA will continue to support Senator Ricardo Lara’s efforts to provide health care coverage options for all Californians, regardless of their immigration status. Last year’s Health For All Kids legislation, which expanded Medi-Cal services to undocumented children was a great start, but more needs to be done. This year, we hope to expand coverage to all undocumented adult residents.

In order to serve the millions of newly insured Californians, we must ensure that our health centers have the workforce capacity and infrastructure to meet the increase in demand. These are both huge priorities for CPCA in 2016 (read more here) and is echoed in four pieces of legislation we are sponsoring this year.

Assembly Bill 1863 (Wood) expands access to culturally mindful behavioral health services in vulnerable communities by allowing Marriage and Family Therapists the ability to provide care, and receive reimbursement, in community health centers and rural health centers.

Assembly Bill 2216 (Bonta) supports Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education (THC) sites in communities that are in greatest need.

Assembly Bill 2053 (Gonzalez) helps community health centers meet the growing need for care by allowing them to expand their licensed health center to new facilities that are next door, down the street, or a bus ride away.

Senate Bill 1335 (Mitchel) improves Californian’s ability to access substance use disorder treatment by eliminating a barrier which prevents community health centers from participating in Drug Medi-Cal (DMC) and as a Specialty Mental Health provider.
Looking beyond the walls of our health centers and looking to improve key social determinants of health, CPCA is sponsoring two pieces of legislation that we feel will improve the health of the communities we serve.

The first is Assembly Bill 2589 (Gomez), which will empower working mothers to breastfeed by ensuring that Medi-Cal provides access to modern day breast pumps. In addition, the bill will improve duel enrollment systems for WIC and Medi-Cal, and create standards and quality metrics for lactation support. CPCA is co-sponsoring this legislation with the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Association to move this important legislation forward and guarantee that low-income mothers have access to needed programs and services as well as contemporary products.

The second is Assembly Bill 2782 (Bloom), which seeks to address the epidemics of Type 2 diabetes, dental disease and heart disease and stroke in California by increasing access to physical education and clean drinking water in schools, farm to fork programs in local neighborhoods, and health care services in the communities we serve. Funding for the new services would come from the Healthy California Fund which will generate more than $3 billion annually through a two-cent health impact fee on the distribution of sugar-sweetened beverages. CPCA is proud to join a broad coalition of community advocates in sponsoring this legislation.

For more information about what CPCA is doing around policy and advocacy, please visit the CPCA website here and become an advocate today.

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