Home»General»Monday Rx | January 14, 2019 | Updates on The Governor’s Budget and More!

Monday Rx | January 14, 2019 | Updates on The Governor’s Budget and More!

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Governor Newsom’s First Budget Puts Health Care Access, Costs Front and Center

The start of a new year means resolutions for some, yet it also signals the beginning of a new era in Sacramento with Governor Gavin Newsom taking over reigns of leadership. Gov. Gavin Newsom released his first state budget proposal recently including a number of new goals and programs aimed at making health care more affordable and accessible to all Californians.

The governor is investing more than $1 billion in Proposition 56 tobacco tax revenue to increase access for Medi-Cal patients. That investment will help make it easier for low-income patients throughout California to see a physician and make Medi-Cal coverage more meaningful and effective for patients. Much of Newsom’s health care focus aims at low- and middle-income residents. His spending blueprint boosts overall state general fund spending on Medi-Cal by $2.2 billion.

In addition to these new investments, Newsom is also making sustained commitments to increasing the number of physicians in California to address the state’s physician shortage and the need to have highly trained, quality physicians in every part of the state.

Newsom also called for California to create a prescription drug bulk-purchasing plan, and to create a new state Surgeon General position to focus on public health issues. LACMA will continue to monitor the legislative and political process and collaborate with CMA on issues that impact our members. Here is LACMA President, Dr. C Freeman’s letter to the editor regarding California’s new leadership:

Letter to the Editor:

In response to Governor Newsom’s sweeping changes to California’s healthcare landscape: “Medi-Cal Plan Would Expand Coverage of Undocumented” by Melody Gutierrez.

The state and Los Angeles County have long needed a leader committed to healthcare, who understands the fragile relationship between patient, medical provider and community centered care.  While former Governor Jerry Brown said his state would not “turn back” on advances it’s made in health coverage he didn’t instill confidence in protecting the most vulnerable and those who provide care every day.

Social determinants of health must be addressed by Governor Newsom and his new administration to solve poor access to essential services, the rising cost of care, preventable illness and disease resulting in healthier, more vibrant communities. We applaud the creation of a new surgeon general position to look at health disparities before they manifest as long as the position seeks input from all stakeholders including medical providers.

C Freeman, MD, MBA
Los Angeles County Medical Association

New Laws for 2019
There are a number of new laws going into effect this month with a strong focus on health care coverage, drug prescribing, public health and mental health issues. To help physicians understand the most significant new health laws, CMA has published its annual new laws round up, “Significant New California Laws of Interest to Physicians for 2019.” Click here to access the piece.

AB 1753

But no new law has garnered as much physician angst as Assembly Bill 1753, the new California law that requires all security prescription forms to have a uniquely serialized number.

I shared information on AB 1753 in previous communications, but it is essential for all providers to be aware of the law. It requires California physicians who prescribe controlled substances to use updated controlled substance prescription forms effective January 1. Although technically, this requirement went into effect January 1, the California Department of Justice (DOJ) only very recently issued any guidance as to the manner in which the serialized number is going to go on the prescription forms.

Physicians were finally notified that the updated forms were available for purchase from some of the currently approved vendors, with less than two weeks to go before the compliance date. CMA and LACMA are very concerned that this does not provide enough time for physicians to re-order forms and integrate the use of the new forms for use beginning January 1, 2019, and could be a serious barrier to patients who must access necessary medications in a timely manner. CMA has expressed concern to DOJ that this guidance was not given in timely enough manner for it to be implemented by physician prescribers and will result in a serious disruption of patient care.

CMA is urging DOJ to work with the Medical Board of California and the California Board of Pharmacy to allow for a transitional period for pharmacies to accept prescription forms that are not fully compliant with the new requirement to ensure continuity of care for California patients.

Reordering security prescription forms presents a great expense for many physician practices and CMA has urged DOJ to work with CMA and other stakeholders to ensure compliance with this new requirement in a way that does not adversely affect patient care.

Physicians should be prepared to make sure their security prescription vendors are ready to comply with the new requirements. CMA’s security prescription partner, RxSecurity, is now taking orders for the new uniquely serialized prescription forms.  We will provide additional information as it becomes available.

Resources for Your Practice

Looking for a physician practice playbook?  Something to help you hire the best, identify which technology to invest in and why, access low-interest loans, improve the patient experience and understanding revenue streams?  “Best Practices: A Guide for Improving the Efficiency and Quality of Your Practice” is available in addition to finance experts, patient acquisition and technology experts to help you uncover ways to thrive, just survive.  Contact me for details.

Are You or Your Patients Affected by the Shutdown?
The government shutdown is here and continues to impact providers to patients.  I’d like to know if the shutdown has impacted your practice or personal life in any way.  Always know that LACMA is here to help.

Gustavo Friederichsen
Chief Executive Officer
Los Angeles County Medical Association
“If it matters to our LACMA members, it matters to me.”


CME Programs


WHEN: March 21 to 23, 2019
WHERE: Waldorf Astoria, Las Vegas
3752 S. Las Vegas Blvd.
Las Vegas, NV 89109

Click here for more information.

This two-and-a-half-day symposium has been designed by experts in the field of hematologic malignancies and affords the conference attendee specialized educational tracks for both physicians and nurses, providing an opportunity to learn about the most recent advances in the treatment of bone marrow transplant, multiple myeloma, lymphoma, and leukemia.

For questions contact: cme@coh.org or 626-218-5622.

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