CA Access News

February 2013


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


Sequestration Would Hurt Rural Health Providers, Study Shows

By George Lauer
California Healthline, February 11, 2013

Rural health care providers heard bleak predictions about the potential effects of sequestration at the National Rural Health Association's 24th annual Rural Health Policy Institute last week.

If Medicare reimbursement is reduced by 2% as specified in the sequestration process due to start in three weeks, 63 rural hospitals will no longer be profitable and 482 rural health care jobs will be lost nationally, according to estimates by iVantage Health Analytics.

California's rural hospitals won't be as hard-hit as those in the Midwest and South, according to the research, but all health care providers who treat Medicare beneficiaries will feel the pinch at some level, said Gregory Wolf of iVantage.

"This is going to have an impact everywhere -- urban, suburban, rural -- but I think it's fair to say rural will feel it more, especially small, remote providers," Wolf said.

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Advocate Advantage

Access is the keyword

By John Kehoe

As we move towards to the start of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), it is a multi-faceted effort. For example, the health benefit exchange programs in many states, including Covered California are new to the U.S. health care system. The public is learning an entirely new process for providing and selecting health care coverage and gaining access to the future health care. There is even a new cottage industry publishing so-called survivor guides, including a version that recently hit reached number two on The New York Times' bestsellers list for advice-giving. These guides may be unreliable, and possibly misleading, partly because of the kinks in the initial rollout of ACA. These wrinkles need to be ironed out, and soon, as time is of the essence.

No single individual is truly tasked with ensuring there is a pool of qualified personnel available in clinics and consulting with specialists available to meet the public's needs. Several large rural areas lack availability of these critical services and personnel. One possible result is a dysfunctional system where patient care is severely limited, and still very costly. Overcoming obstacles, especially in rural communities is critical to the success of implementing our new system.

The keyword to focus on is access. This six-letter word is what all efforts on behalf of the ACA should strive to achieve. The Medicare prescription drug benefit, known as Part D, has been a beacon of success in the areas of access and cost containment.

The evaluations of this program have demonstrated overwhelming support from Medicare beneficiaries. In the eyes of budget junkies, the program has successfully saved money. In the past three years, the program has saved an estimated $100 billion each year. In 2012, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated Part D was 45 percent under budget. Such savings would not be feasible by shifting additional costs to seniors or changing the price models. For the sake of more than 300 million Americans, we must make not only cost prudent decisions, but also maintain sufficient access.


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

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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

What Will Happen With Millions of 'Residually Uninsured' Californians?

By David Gorn
California Healthline, February 14, 2012

Kim Belshé has been working to change the health care delivery system in California for years -- previously as the secretary of Health and Human Services under Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) and now as a board member of the Covered California health benefit exchange. She knows firsthand how much of a difference health care reform can make in California.

And how much different that reform still needs to be.

"There is a really challenging reality facing us and that is a recognition that near-universal coverage is, in fact, not universal," Belshé said at a recent conference in Sacramento.

With roughly 4.6 million Californians expected to obtain health insurance through the exchange and expansion of Medi-Cal, the state will come a long way toward meeting the health care needs of its citizens -- but not all the way, she said.

"Notwithstanding all the excitement over the new insurance card, and the benefits it will cover, and the delivery system to ensure access and population health improvements, we have got a really big elephant in our living room," Belshé said. "And that is, we're going to have a lot of people who are uninsured."

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'Engaging folks where they are' key to improving community health in South LA

By José Martinez
KPCC-Southern California Public Radio, February 13, 2013

The way health care is done in American Samoa may resonate with the way it's done in South Los Angeles.

More than one in five adults in the Pacific U.S. territory have type 2 diabetes, and researchers wanted to gauge the best way to care for them. So, for a study appearing in the journal Diabetes Care, they divided more than 250 diabetic Samoans into two groups:

  • A group that received traditional primary care.
  • A group that, in addition to primary care, received a "culturally-tailored intervention" from a team of community health workers led by a nurse.

Members of the latter group were visited by community health workers either weekly, monthly or quarterly, depending on the severity of the patient's diabetes. The workers would not only test, but explain blood sugar readings, as well as remind patients to keep up with diets, exercise habits and visits to their health provider. When patients encountered a problem, workers trained them to deal with it, rather than just fixing it for them.

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Consumer group calls for laws to boost monitoring of doctors

By Lisa Girion
Los Angeles Times, February 7, 2013

A consumer advocacy group Wednesday called for new laws to improve the state's monitoring of doctors who prescribe dangerous narcotics.

Consumer Watchdog said reforms were needed to reduce surging prescription drug overdoses and to rein in incompetent and corrupt physicians.

"We call upon you to convene hearings immediately to deal with this crisis and consider appropriate solutions," the Santa Monica-based group wrote in a letter to Gov. Jerry Brown and lawmakers.

The letter was prompted by Times reports that exposed the role of physicians' prescriptions in overdose deaths. The group called for measures that would require regulators to routinely search the state's vast database of narcotics prescriptions to identify and stop doctors who are prescribing recklessly.

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Interesting Information

California reveals details of health-law insurance plans

Chad Terhune
Los Angeles Times, February 13, 2013

Consumers are getting their first glimpse at what health insurance will look like in California as the state prepares to implement the federal healthcare law.

On Wednesday, February 13, state officials spelled out the details on policies available next year to people buying their own coverage. In January 2014, most Americans will be required to have health insurance or face a penalty.

Federal law established four broad plans of coverage -- Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze -- whose benefits vary based on the level of out-of-pocket expenses that consumers are required to pay. A Platinum plan, the most expensive, would require policyholders to pay about 10% of the cost of care, while the Bronze plan, the least expensive, pegs the patient share at 40%.

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