CA Access News

December 2012


In this Issue: Features | Advocate Advantage | Calendar | Welcome New Partners | In the News | Interesting Information | Contact Us


Forum Explores Dealing with Chronic Care Under ACA

By David Gorn
California Healthline, December 10, 2012

Chronic health conditions remain one of the contributing factors to financial and utilization strain on the health care system, and there are a number of steps that can be taken to address them, according to a panel of experts that met recently in San Jose.

The forum, called "Chronic Disease: A Common Sense Approach to Solving Complex Health Issues," was held Nov. 27 and hosted by the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease. The moderator, Ken Thorpe, chairman of the partnership, said dealing with chronic conditions may be the most important health care concern of our time.

"We all know the prevalence of obesity has doubled since the early 1980s, and that doubling of obesity accounts for about 10% of health costs in this country," Thorpe said. "Because the rise in prevalence of obesity has contributed to the rise in diabetes, as well as hyperlipidemia, hypertension and other related chronic health conditions."

Thorpe estimated that 84% of what California and the nation spend on health care is linked to chronically ill patients. "Yet despite that high number, many of our health plans really don't do a good job of coordinating health care services for those patients," Thorpe said.

Read More

Advocate Advantage

Stay Informed on Medicare

By John Kehoe

This year, there has been a tremendous outpouring of information on Medicare D coverage for California's eligible Medicare recipients through direct mail, seminars, advertising, opinion editorials and other information resources. The good news is, the word is going out. The question many seniors may ask is, "What do I do with this information? How does it help me?" Information provided via Medicare Today, including an annual beneficiary satisfaction survey and tele-town halls about changes in the program for 2013, allow consumers to be better equipped than ever to make critical choices.

One of the targets of this information flow is to inform politicians in Washington on how critical this program is to the health and well being of all who are receiving coverage. In seeking to avoid the "Fiscal Cliff," our representatives must understand the solidarity of the Medicare community on the theme: "Don't cut or change our Medicare D coverage. It is working, keep costs low and needed by all!"


Check out our CPAT partner events occurring this month!

Were you unable to attend a CPAT event? All program materials are housed on our website.

Would you like to see your organization's event listed? Contact Jason Dumont at to help advertise your upcoming event.

Welcome New Partners


Join Now

Do you know a group who would be interested in joining CPAT? Please send your referrals to:

Northern California - Contact Jason Dumont at

Southern California - Contact Brandon Stephenson at

In the News

Panetta, Shinseki order swifter progress toward joint health records

By Jared Serbu
Federal News Radio, December 7, 2012

The secretaries of Defense and Veterans Affairs have new marching orders on the effort to combine their two electronic medical records systems: Go faster.

DoD and VA already are working on combining their separate electronic medical records into a single, seamless one. The departments' current plan calls for a shutdown of their legacy patient record infrastructures -- DoD's AHLTA and VA's VistA -- by 2017, at which point they would be replaced by a joint system. Some of the initial capabilities of the Integrated Electronic Health Record are scheduled to go online in San Antonio, and Hampton Roads, Va., by 2014.

But Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said he and VA Secretary Eric Shinkseki want to move the timeline to the left.

"Today, both Secretary Shinseki and I agree to develop a joint DoD-VA plan for accelerating this program, to try to integrate our health care systems," he said. "And what we said is that we want to be able to meet or beat the schedule that we've established as targets here. We've asked that that plan be presented to us by early January. We've got to do everything we can to move this on a more expeditious path."

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Will Firms Cut Jobs -- or Benefits -- Under ACA? Weighing the Evidence

By Dan Diamond
California Healthline, December 5, 2012

More than three years ago, Whole Foods founder John Mackey presented his "alternative to ObamaCare" in the pages of the Wall Street Journal: Shift more spending power to patients. Reform malpractice laws and Medicare payment. Eat healthier.

Whether well-intentioned guidance or tin-eared political criticism, Whole Foods customers weren't thrilled. The op-ed helped spark a minor boycott and led Mackey to furiously backpedal within a few days, charging that the Journal had slapped a more controversial headline on his original essay.

But Mackey may have been ahead of the curve. More business leaders -- especially in the food and retail sectors -- are speaking out about the Affordable Care Act, suggesting that the law is going to hurt their bottom line.

Read more

Flu season hits U.S. early and hard

By Michael Muskal
Los Angeles Times, December 3, 2012

The flu season has gotten off to its quickest start in nearly a decade, a sign that it could be a bad year for the illness, officials said on Monday.

Dr. Thomas Frieden, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, urged people to get a flu shot to minimize the impact of the deadly disease's spread. Speaking to publicize National Influenza Vaccination Week, Frieden said a flu shot was the best tool available to stop the spread of the disease, along with covering your mouth when coughing and washing your hands.

"This is the earliest regular flu season we've seen in nearly a decade," Frieden said in a conference call with reporters. "That suggests this could be a bad flu year." The flu is caused by different strains and part of the test for scientists is trying to mix a vaccine that includes the strains that are most likely to be dominant in any given season. The current vaccine, which has been prepared in advance, seems well-matched for the strains that now working their way through the population, Frieden said.

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Interesting Information

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Tells States It Will Not Fund Partial Medicaid Expansion

By Phil Galewitz and Mary Agnes Carey
Kaiser Health News, December 10, 2012

The Obama administration answered a key question from governors with a clear "no": States may not expand Medicaid only part of the way and still get the additional federal funding provided in the Affordable Care Act.

The decision, announced by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in a letter sent to governors, is significant because after the Supreme Court ruling in June made the Medicaid expansion optional, several states have floated the idea of a less generous expansion than called for in the federal health law.

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