CA Access NEWS
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October 2013

In this Issue: California News | Federal News | Advocate Advantage | Calendar | Join the Network | Interesting Information | Contact Us

The California Partnership for Access to Treatment (CPAT) is pleased to provide the October issue of CA Access News, a monthly e-news publication for CPAT partners, members and supporters which highlights current health care issues at the state and national level. We welcome your comments, suggestions and contributions.


See Which Medicines Are Making Their Way Down the Pipeline: Vaccines

California News

October 2013 marks a historic time. California officially opened its Health Benefit Exchange, Covered California, on October 1, taking a major step towards universal healthcare. Additionally, Medicare Part D open enrollment also began on October 15. How will these two major efforts affect California residents? Read more about Covered California and Medicare Part D open enrollment below.

Covered California: Will Medicare be affected?

By Ric Romero
KABC-TV, October 11, 2013

With the Affordable Care Act, called Covered California here, many seniors are struggling to figure out how this new health care law affects Medicare, if at all.

"I don't even know what to ask first. I really don't," said Helen Frank.

Senior centers, including one in Glendale, have been holding educational events to help those who have or are about to qualify for Medicare.

Read More

Seniors Cautioned To Pay Close Attention To Details As Enrollment Begins In Medicare Plans

By Susan Jaffe
Kaiser Health News
, October 15, 2013

The seven-week enrollment period for next year's Medicare prescription drug and managed-care plans begins Tuesday, but seniors shouldn't simply renew their policies and assume the current coverage will stay the same. There's a likely payoff for those who pay close attention to the details.

Read More

Federal News

It last occurred in 1995, but on October 1, 2013, the U.S. Government partially shut down. The shutdown led to furloughs, canceled military training missions and slowed economic growth, not to mention its effect on the health care community.

CDC Shutdown: Mayo Clinic Expert Explains What it Means for This Flu Season -- and the Next

COPD News of the Day, October 10, 2013

Flu season is under way, but how many Americans have been hit so far, how badly, and which influenza bugs are to blame is unclear. That information is important to prevent and manage outbreaks, and it is crucial for creation of the next batch of influenza vaccines. But this flu season, the nation is flying (and coughing, and sneezing, and maybe worse) blind. That's because the agency that normally keeps the country on top of influenza outbreaks -- the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention -- is largely out of commission due to the federal government shutdown. Mayo Clinic infectious diseases expert Gregory Poland, M.D., explains what the CDC normally does and what federal furloughs mean to efforts to protect people from contagious illnesses.

Read More

Obamacare Offers Hope for People With Rare Diseases

By Megan Barron
ABC News
, October 14, 2013

Like many other young people, I celebrated the passage of the Affordable Care Act because it meant I could stay on my parents' insurance until I was 26. But as a 22-year-old with epidermolysis bullosa, a rare condition that causes painful blistering and scarring of my skin and internal organs, I also celebrated because it also loosened the grip that private insurance companies had over my peace of mind.

Read More

The Advocate Advantage

This month our featured advocate, John Kehoe of the California Senior Advocates League, discusses the background of Covered California, its leadership and what the health exchange means from a senior's perspective.

In the face of health insurance change, the Greatest Generation must persevere

John KehoeBy John Kehoe

When Congress passed the Affordable Care Act they introduced to our vocabulary a new term: "insurance exchanges." This was a new phenomenon to the public. Exchanges have normally been associated with buying and selling stocks, bonds, corn futures, and now health insurance. For California, the board of the new Health Benefit Exchange was being announced just as there was a change in Administrations. Outgoing Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and incoming Governor Jerry Brown agreed to appoint to the Health Exchange Board the chief of staff to Governor Schwarzenegger, Susan Kennedy, and Kim Belshé, the Secretary of Health and Human Services Agency. The Board's role is to ensure that California effectively operates its new "insurance exchange." Both public agency executives have unique backgrounds that will enable them to accomplish the mission. Susan Kennedy had been rumored to serve as chief of staff to Hilary Clinton if she had become the Democratic Party candidate for President. Kim Belshé has received high praise for her leadership in her many years of service in the health area of California government.

Another term has entered our nation's vocabulary in recent years: the "Greatest Generation," which broadly encompasses today's population known as senior citizens. Tom Brokaw coined the term in his best-selling book, describing the Americans who survived the Great Depression, World War II, created the Space Age, and framed the foundation for the great advancements and innovations of computers, communications and electronics.

The health exchange in California has morphed into an institution known as Covered California, which is responsible for making certain that all Californians are aware of their right to adequate health care coverage. Open enrollment began on October 1, but the actual insurance exchange will start on January 1, 2014. There are now 12 health care insurance programs working with Covered California. Medicare and Medi-Cal are excluded, and by virtue of this fact, the impact on California seniors is not too great. That is, unless the people in that age group do not have coverage. Then they had better go shopping for such coverage.

Seniors are very concerned about having adequate health care coverage for their families at a price that can be afforded. Economists forecasted in the early part of the past decade that the percentage of the gross domestic product was leaping way ahead of everything else in the economy. This is the motivation which led the political types to design an affordable healthcare program to manage the costs. In the last Presidential election politicians began referring to this endeavor as "Obamacare." Seniors are interested in seeing the American's quality of healthcare improve, and at the least impact to the economic balance of the nation's budget. Just as the "Greatest Generation" met every challenge with grit and perseverance, the senior population today will do what is necessary to survive within the confines of the new health insurance exchange. Also, to alter the course, if need be.


CPAT hosts health-related events throughout the state to educate its partners and communities and to serve as a resource. Join us for our remaining events in 2013, which will focus on obesity and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Upcoming CPAT Events - Mark Your Calendar!

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is the third leading cause of death in the United States. It is a progressive lung disease that slowly stops a person's ability to breathe. Although there are treatments, there is no cure for the disease. Join CPAT for its final two seminars of the year, which will focus on COPD.

Breathe California of the Bay AreaNovember 18, 2013
Unlocking the Mystery of COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)
11 a.m. - 1 p.m.

El Camino Hospital,
Hospital of the Silicon Valley
Room number: TBD
2500 Grant Road
Mountain View, CA 94040

Sponsor: Breathe California of the Bay Area

To RSVP visit:

Breathe California of Los Angeles CountyNovember 20, 2013
BREATE LA's 5th Annual COPD Conference: Improving Fiscal and Health Impacts through Accountable Care
8 a.m. - noon

USC Health Sciences Campus Aresty Auditorium
1450 Biggy Street
Los Angeles, CA 90033

Breathe California of Los Angeles County

BREATHE California of Los Angeles County's 5th Annual Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Conference will take place on World COPD Day, November 20. The California Partnership for Access to Treatment (CPAT), Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and more partners will join BREATHE LA to address the need for greater collaboration and increased resources needed for prevention, early diagnosis, and treatment. Speakers will explore the emerging role of clinical service providers as Accountable Care Organizations in partnership with formal and informal health services to foster long-term cost savings and improved health outcomes on diseases of such magnitude as COPD, affecting more than 197,000 people in LA County.

To RSVP for the COPD Conference, please call (323) 935-8050, ext. 256, send an email to, or register online.

Check out our CPAT events occurring this month!

Past Events

The Obesity Epidemic in California

The California Partnership for Access to Treatment's (CPAT) third quarter seminar on obesity elevated awareness of the recent designation of obesity as a disease state, new research into the disease, the personal and public costs associated with obesity and pharmaceutical research on new treatment options.

From left to right: Cher Gonzalez, Sr. Manager for State Government Affairs, Eisai Inc., Ken Fujioka, MD, Tanya Robinson-Taylor, Principal Consultant, California State Senate Health Committee, Alex Norring, Assistant, California State Senate Health Committee and Kassy Perry, President and CEO, Perry Communications Group.

Jennifer Zins, Vice President, Perry Communications Group, introduces Solano County Supervisor John Vasquez to the stage to give opening remarks to the audience gathered for the CPAT seminar on The Obesity Epidemic in California.

Special thanks to our elected officials whose representatives attended the seminar!

  • Office of Congressman John Garamendi
  • Office of State Senator Lois Wolk
  • California State Senate Health Committee
  • Solano County Supervisor Erin Hannigan
  • Solano County Supervisor John Vasquez
  • Office of Solano County Supervisor Jim Spering
  • Solano County Board of Supervisors

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

CPAT Partner Events

Medicare Today

October 23, 2013

11 a.m. PST
What's the Latest on Medicare?

Tele-town Conference Call with Guest Speakers:

  • Doug Holtz-Eakin, PhD, President, American Action Forum
  • David Kendall, Senior Fellow for Health and Fiscal Policy, Third Way

Participant Dial-In: 1-888-790-5918
Password: MEDICARE

Feel free to submit questions in advance to Debbie Witchey at

To follow the conversation on twitter, follow hashtag - #MedicareToday

Regional Patient Advocacy Leaders Summit
"Collaborating for Health Care Advocacy"

This powerful one-day event features local, state and national experts on:

  • Health Care Reform implementation
  • Serving diverse populations
  • Programs for the uninsured
  • Social media as an advocacy tool

Friday, October 25, 2013
8 am - 3 pm

Edison Energy Education and Conference Center
6090 North Irwindale Avenue
Irwindale, CA 91702

For more information, please contact Ashlien Savage at (626) 856-3400.

Hosted by:

San Gabriel Valley Economic Partnership


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

Join the Network

Welcome New CPAT Partners!

Join Now

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

Northern California - Contact Yadira Beas at

Southern California - Contact Lauren Lewow at

Interesting Information

Regulatory policy's 'butterfly effect' on the next generation of medicine

By John J. Castellani, President & CEO of PhRMA
Politico, October 8, 2013

Many public policies, on the surface, may seem to have minimal connection to the development of new medicines when in fact they have a profound effect on how we deliver better health and better value to patients. Mathematician Edward Lorenz called it 'The Butterfly Effect,' how even a small change can deeply affect an ecosystem.

Read More

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) among Adults in California

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Fifteen million Americans have been diagnosed with COPD. In California, about 4.6% (age-adjusted = 4.4%) of residents surveyed in 2011 reported having been told by a health care professional that they have COPD. Find out more about how this disease is affecting California residents by reading the fact sheet.

Read More

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