As busy as February Sweeps on TV, with “very special” episodes…

HEALTH ACCESS UPDATE
Valentine’s Day Edition: Calendar of Events
Wednesday, February 14, 2006

UPCOMING HEALTH POLICY HEARINGS AND EVENTS IN SACRAMENTO
* First Senate & Assembly Hearings This Year on Health Plans by Governor and Legislators
* Other Meetings by Little Hoover on Reform; DMHC on Timely Access; OPA on HMO Quality
* New Draft of Deficit Reduction Act Documentation Requirements; DHS Stakeholders Mtg

The health policy debate is heating up in Sacramento, as the Senate and Assembly Health Committees start holding informational hearings on the health reform plans put forward by the Governor and key legislative leaders.
The next few weeks also offer a range of other briefings and meetings in Sacramento for health care advocates:

* Thursday, February 15th, 10:00am: Informational Hearing sponsored by the Senate Health Committee, chaired by Senator Sheila Kuehl, to review the Governor Schwarzenegger’s health reform proposal. Speakers tentatively include Health and Human Services Secretary Kim Belshe, a panel that includes LAO analysts, Rick Brown of UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, and Peter Harbage of New America Foundation, and a panel of stakeholder representatives. Room 4203, Capitol.

* Tuesday, February 20th, 12:00noon: Valley Labor Luncheon, featuring Congresswoman Doris Matsui and Ken Jacobs, UC Labor Center Health Care Reform Research Specialist. $25 per person. Holiday Inn Capitol Plaza, 300 J Street, Sacramento. RSVP at 916-923-1775.

* Tuesday, February 20th, 1:30 pm: Informational Hearing sponsored by the Assembly Health Committee, chaired by Assemblyman Mervyn Dymally. Entitled “Health Care Reform: What Are The Choices? (Part I)” the panel will hear testimony on the health reform proposals of the Governor, the Speaker, the Senate President Pro Tem, and the Senate Republican leadership. Room 4202, Capitol.

* Thursday, February 22nd, 9:00am: Public Hearing by the Little Hoover Commission. The commission will hear a panel on “components of reform proposals,” including from academics, advocates, and experts, as part of its review and deliberations on health care issues. Capitol, Room 437. An agenda is available at:
http://www.lhc.ca.gov/lhcdir/healthcare/Public_Notice_2-22-07.pdf

* Thursday, February 22nd, 11:15am-1:15pm: Department of Health Services (DHS) Stakeholders Meeting on the new DRA Documentation Requirements. DHS just released its all-county letter to implement the citizenship documentation requirements of the Deficit Reduction Act, requirements that advocates believe are onerous and will lead to many citizens losing medical coverage. The meeting, to get questions and comments on the state’s implementation, is at the California DHS Auditorium, 1500 Capitol Avenue. A call-in line is at 888-398-1687, with the passcode “DRA.” The DHS letter is available at: http://www.dhs.ca.gov/dra

* Thursday, February 22nd. Briefing on Herndon Alliance Polling on Health Reforms and Values Mapping. This briefing has been POSTPONED to March. The Herndon Alliance, a national coalition working to achieve health reform, will share the results of their research on the values that the public holds on these issues. Sponsored by: Herndon Alliance, and California partner organizations including Health Access California, National Council of La Raza, Catholic Healthcare West, and the California Endowment.

* Friday, February 23rd. 12:00noon-3:00pm. SCHIP Reauthorization Convening, sponsored by the California HealthCare Foundation. Presenters will include Administration officials, advocates, and experts from Washington, DC, to discuss the needs of California as part of the pending Congressional debate over the reauthorization of the State Child Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), which funds California’s Healthy Families Program. Lunch will be served. Sacramento Sheraton, 1230 J St. To RSVP, contact Clara Evans at 916-714-1399.

* Tuesday, February 27th, 10:00am. Press Conference on SB840(Kuehl). Advocates for universal, comprehensive, single-payer health coverage will launch their efforts for the year. Room 1190, State Capitol.

* Tuesday, February 27th, 1:30 pm: Informational Hearing by the Assembly Health Committee, chaired by Assemblyman Mervyn Dymally. Entitled “Health Care Reform: What are the Choices? (Part II),” this hearing is expected to focus on Senator Sheila Kuehl’s proposal, last year’s SB840, to be reintroduced, for a comprehensive, universal health care system. Room 4202, Capitol.

* Tuesday, February 27th, 1:00pm-3:30pm. California Program on Access to Care (CPAC)/California Office of the Patient Advocate (OPA) policy briefing on “Access, Quality, and Utilization of Care in California ’s HMOs.” Researchers will present their findings on HMO care, relating to racial and ethnic disparities, chronic diseases, utilization, consumler satisfaction, and children of color with special needs. California State Legislative Office Building, Hearing Room 100, 1020 N Street. Sacramento. To RSVP, call 510-643-3140 or E-mail Tanya.Barretto@ucop.edu.

* Friday, March 2nd: 10:00am. Health Advocates RoundTable. An monthly advocates-only convening to discuss and brief each other on health policy issues and advocacy activities. To RSVP and get the location, contact Hanh Kim Quach at Health Access, hquach@health-access.org, or 916-497-0923.

* Monday, March 5th, 10:00am. Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) Hearing on Timely Access to Health Care Regulations. The DMHC has proposed regulations implementing AB2179, a 2002 law (sponsored by Health Access California) to set standards for HMO consumers to assure timely access to care. This is the opportunity for the public to comment in front of the DMHC; written comments are due at 5:00pm that day. 980 Ninth Street, 2nd Floor, Conference Room A/B/C. For more information, go to the hearing notice and regulations, at:
http://www.dmhc.ca.gov/library/reports/news/aron.pdf

* Thursday, March 15th, 8:00am-5:00pm. California Budget Project Conference. “Moving Forward: How Can We Build a Better Future for All Californians?” The annual conference will feature a health care plenary featuring HHS Secretary Kim Belshe, Assemblyman Hector De La Torre, and San Francisco Foundation CEO Sandra Hernandez. There will be a health care workshop to go into more detail as well, and a Lunch Plenary will feature Yale professor Jacob Hacker. To register, visit the website at:
http://www.cbp.org/

Health Access California and other health and consumer advocates will be actively engaged at these and other opportunities to represent California patients and families. For more information, or to let us know of other events to include on future calendars, contact Hanh Kim Quach at 916-497-0923, or hquach@health-access.org.

Health Access California promotes quality, affordable health care for all Californians.

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