LOS ANGELES – Jan. 14, 2022 – On Monday, Governor Gavin Newsom released his January budget proposal for the 2022-23 fiscal year. We applaud the Governor for a budget proposal that leverages a projected $45 billion surplus to take bold steps to further California’s leadership in expanding health care coverage and addressing health, economic, environmental, and racial inequities.
As the state continues to weather the COVID-19 pandemic, we are encouraged to see increased resources for testing and vaccinations, especially a $583 million investment in increasing vaccination rates. The communities served by community health centers have been some of the hardest hit by the pandemic and we look forward to continuing to work with the Administration to ensure sufficient and equitable access to testing, treatment and vaccines.
Many voices, including our own, are also urging a greater effort to address the racial and structural inequities laid bare by the pandemic. We see the Health Equity and Racial Justice Fund as a critical component of this work. Community-based organizations, clinics and tribal organizations are on the front lines and play a distinct role in identifying equity and justice issues at the local level and developing and implementing local solutions.
We are excited to see a $1 billion proposed investment in health care workforce and appreciate the recognition of the critical state of the workforce shortage, which has only been exacerbated by COVID-19. We are pleased to see investments outlined for nurses, certified medical assistants, social workers, behavioral health providers, and community health workers. We urge the Administration and Legislature to expand these investments to include support for allied health professionals such as non-certified medical assistants and dental assistants. The health care workforce shortage is across all levels of providers and allied health professionals are a critical part of the care team.
We are thrilled to see the historic investment to expand Medi-Cal to all income-eligible Californians, regardless of immigration status, closing the remaining gap and allowing adults ages 27-49 to access comprehensive health coverage under the program. As the state expands Medi-Cal eligibility and continues exploring single payer models that would provide truly universal coverage, health care workforce investments become even more urgent. We implore the administration to ensure investments prioritize the safety-net and growing a workforce that better reflects the diversity of our state.
With major changes to the Medi-Cal pharmacy program taking effect, we appreciate the Governor’s continued commitment to the clinic Supplemental Payment Pool and strongly urge the Administration and Legislature to augment this fund to better sustain the essential programs and services these resources support. We are also anxiously awaiting budget policy language regarding future Medi-Cal telehealth policy which must ensure that patients served by community health centers retain equitable access to obtain care via their choice of modality, whether that is in-person, via video telehealth, or by telephone.
We look forward to working with the Administration and the Legislature this year to advance the priorities of our member clinics and the patients and families they serve, and to improve the health and well-being of California’s diverse communities.
THE COMMUNITY CLINIC ASSOCIATION OF LOS ANGELES COUNTY (CCALAC) is the largest regional association of community clinics and health centers in California. Founded in 1994, CCALAC has 65 members that serve nearly 1.7 million patients throughout LA County. CCALAC is dedicated to serving and representing the interests of its member clinics as providers of quality health care, including medical, dental and pharmacy services. For more information about CCALAC, visit www.ccalac.org or call (213) 201-6500.
Contact: Taryn Burks – Communications Specialist, firstname.lastname@example.org | (213) 201-6529.