Among initiatives on the November ballot are three measures affecting health care and the future of Medi-Cal.
With the passage of the Affordable Care Act, access to care has improved, uninsured rates have declined dramatically and nearly one in three Californians are covered by Medi-Cal. But continued success is threatened.
Government reimbursement for services has not increased. In fact, among all 50 states, California ranks nearly last for reimbursing health care providers for their services. With reimbursement woefully inadequate and a growing number of people insured by Medi-Cal, all Californians are impacted—employers, patients and health care providers.
Along with hospitals, doctors, teachers, community clinics and others, Sutter Health supports a yes vote on three measures that address the underfunding of Medi-Cal and enhance health care in our state.
Proposition 52, the Medi-Cal Funding and Accountability Act of 2016, protects a partnership created in 2009 between the state and California’s hospitals resulting in approximately $18 billion in new federal funds to help pay for hospital care for Medi-Cal patients, with no increase in California taxes. For details see Keep a Good Idea Working.
Proposition 55, California Children’s Education and Health Care Protection Act of 2016, will extend for 12 years the current tax rates on single taxpayers earning more than $250,000 and couples making more than $500,000 a year. It will bring up to $2 billion annually to hospitals and doctors in the form of new Medi-Cal funding. Click on Help Our Children Thrive for more information.
Proposition 56, California Healthcare, Research and Prevention Tobacco Tax Act of 2016, will increase California’s cigarette tax by $2 per pack, with an equivalent increase on products containing nicotine derived from tobacco, including e-cigarettes. The majority of funds generated by Proposition 56 will be used to improve existing health care programs, prevent smoking and fund research into cancer and other tobacco-related diseases. For information go to Since When Has Tobacco Cared About Our Kids?
Largest amount awarded to a university this year
Aims to diversify the healthcare workforce
An agency with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded Sutter Health’s Samuel Merritt University (SMU) $7.8 million in scholarship money for disadvantaged students who will join the University’s mission to diversify healthcare and improve outcomes in underserved communities.
The grant money, distributed by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), is available to SMU students entering or enrolled in the family nurse practitioner, physician assistant, and physical therapy programs. It is the largest amount of scholarship money awarded by HRSA to a single university or college in the U.S. this year.
“The more diverse our healthcare professionals, the healthier our communities,” said SMU President Sharon Diaz. “That begins with diversity on our campuses. We are grateful for HRSA’s recognition of our ongoing effort to make healthcare education accessible to all, and we welcome the students who want to join us in making health outcomes equitable for all.” Read More about Nearly $8 Million Awarded to Samuel Merritt University
Coordinated service transports patients needing specialized care
Today, not-for-profit Sutter Health announced the launch of a new medical transport network serving the critically ill, injured and most fragile patients needing to transfer to higher levels of care in Northern California. The network features a fleet of air ambulances operated by California Shock Trauma Air Rescue (CALSTAR) and a fleet of ground ambulances operated by American Medical Response (AMR).
Sutter Health collaborated with AMR and CALSTAR to establish the new medical transport network, which will help quickly and efficiently transport patients from facility to facility—both within the Sutter Health network and outside of it. Minutes matter during medically delicate situations, and swift transfer to a facility with an appropriate level of care facilitates timely access to medically necessary treatment. Sutter Health’s goal is for CALSTAR and AMR to achieve immediate and seamless dispatch of air and ground ambulances with one call from the patient’s clinical care team. CALSTAR and AMR will strategically locate aircraft and vehicles across a dozen geographic deployment areas to minimize response and transport times.
“Our new transportation network helps us provide vital care quickly and efficiently,” said Stephen Lockhart, M.D., Sutter Health’s chief medical officer. “After initial examinations and tests, clinical care teams may determine some patients need more intensive care. For example, a patient may suffer from a stroke and require specialized treatment at a hospital with neurointensive services.”
New care centers offer same-day appointments, convenient and comfortable locations
Sutter Walk-In Care, a service of Sutter Medical Foundation, offers quick, convenient healthcare for everyday illnesses and health needs in a standalone storefront that is easily accessible for local communities. The first location opens at 8 a.m. April 4 in Roseville. Two additional Sutter Walk-In Care locations will open in Elk Grove and El Dorado Hills in late April and mid May, respectively. Read More about Sutter Health Announces New Innovative Clinic for Walk-In Healthcare
Patients from across Sutter Health’s not-for-profit network now have the option of viewing key sections of My Health Online, as well as valuable health information and instructions, in Spanish. Through My Health Online, Sutter Health’s secure online patient portal, patients have online and mobile access to their personal health record and an expanding number of online services.
Today, more than 1.2 million adult patients connect to Sutter Health via My Health Online, which is more than 64 percent of the adult patient population across the Sutter Health network. At Sutter Health’s Palo Alto Medical Foundation, where My Health Online was first developed, more than 83 percent of the adult patients use this system. These numbers exceed the national average, with less than 30 percent of Americans reporting online access to their medical records, according to a national study conducted by the California HealthCare Foundation. My Health Online is the patient-facing part of Sutter EHR—one of the most sophisticated and comprehensive electronic health records in the country. Read More about Sutter Health Debuts Spanish in Online Patient Portal
Sutter Health and UnitedHealthcare have renewed their network relationship, giving people enrolled in UnitedHealthcare’s employer-sponsored and Medicare Advantage plans access to Sutter Health facilities and physicians through 2017.
The renewed relationship expands the use of performance-based incentives designed to reward Sutter Health physicians for the quality of care delivered while managing medical costs. This includes providing certain Medicare patients with access to Sutter Health’s Advanced Illness Management program, which takes a home-based approach to providing chronically ill patients with physical and emotional support. Read More about Sutter Health and UnitedHealthcare Renew Network Relationship