Home»General»Tuesday Rx | February 19, 2019 | Healthcare Affordability Crisis: Myth or Reality?

Tuesday Rx | February 19, 2019 | Healthcare Affordability Crisis: Myth or Reality?

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Update on Growing Healthcare Affordability Crisis in California

In this special edition of the Tuesday message to members, I wanted to share some quick updates on issues impacting the state, new offerings for members and a survey to gauge what kinds of vacations members like taking.

Recently, the Legislature held a joint committee meeting on affordability to review policy reaction to the growing healthcare affordability crisis. Though California’s uninsured rate has fallen to 7.2%, the committees heard that more than 30% of individual market enrollees report financial stress and up to 24% forego or delay care due to costs. The committees considered both a comprehensive package and individually targeted policy options presented in a Covered California report developed pursuant to last year’s AB 1810. Covered California, the Governor’s Office, and the Legislative Analyst’s Office each emphasized that the individual mandate penalty may be one of the most effective tools that the state has to influence increased insurance coverage rates. Give me your thoughts on affordability, is it myth or reality?

Governor Newsom’s State of the State address focused on a variety of state issues as he pledged to halt or slow down high profile infrastructure projects, calling instead for investment in aging, health care affordability, and the social determinants of health. His focus includes: $500 million for navigation centers and $100 million more for Whole Person Care and affordable housing investments to address social determinants; deeper exchange subsidies, higher Medi-Cal rates, and Medi-Cal expansion aimed at access and affordability; and a Master Plan on Aging and Alzheimer’s Taskforce led by Maria Shriver to target California’s graying population. Is he on the right track?

Los Angeles County to Replace Jail with Mental Health Facility

The L.A. County Board of Supervisors approved an amended plan to replace the Men’s Central Jail with a Mental Health Treatment Facility. While all parties agreed that mental health treatment is preferential to jail, arguments against the movement centered on whether the planned 3800+ bed facility is really the most appropriate way to provide effective mental health services.

Behavioral health professionals and advocates, including L.A. County’s Director of Mental Health, Dr. Jonathan Sherin, voiced concerns that spending $2.2 billion for such a large facility ignores evidence that community-based treatment is more effective at preventing criminal justice involvement. Though the amended plan passed, Sups. Solis and Kuehl both voted against the plan with Sup. Solis calling for restraint to give time to develop creative approaches to preventative mental and behavioral health services.

LACMA President, Dr. C. Freeman weighed in:

“The Board of Supervisors is to be commended for making mental health a priority, taking steps to address access to care, and engages intersectionality as a way to understand the relationship between the social determinants of health and incarceration. The U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics documents that homelessness, foster care, and substance abuse are more common among inmates who have mental health problems. In addition, prisoners who have mental health problems have longer sentences than prisoners without mental health problems.

As a psychiatrist, I concur with the Department of Mental Health’s position that data supports community-based treatment is more effective at preventing criminal justice involvement. I also anticipate that the action taken by the Supervisors is part of an ongoing conversation with stakeholders about the mental health needs of the Los Angeles community. If we can replace an ineffective steel bar punitive penal system with evidenced-based prevention, treatment, and actually rehabilitative approaches, this form of true help will effectively improve the lives of all of those in Los Angeles.”

2019 LACMA Elections

LACMA is holding its 148th Annual Election this coming June. Active members of LACMA and CMA have the privilege of voting for their preferred candidates. At the end of May, you can expect to receive a voting ballot via email, and you will be able to cast your vote online. Please be sure to keep an eye out for your ballot and submit your vote.

List of Vacancies

If members have questions regarding the positions or the election process, please contact Lisa Le at (213) 226-0304 or at lisa@lacmanet.org.

Women in Medicine

The gender gap continues in healthcare, much like it does in other industries. Last year, the percentage of women leading Fortune 500 companies fell to just 4.8%. In healthcare, studies peg the percentage of women CEOs between 13% to 20% and 30% for the C-suite overall. The executives named to this year’s Modern Healthcare listing of the Top 25 Women Leaders illustrate how a more diverse leadership team can improve performance, both clinically and financially. Of the 25, six are physicians including Dr. Barbara McAneny, current AMA president who will be meeting with LACMA leaders next week.

Of the five Luminaries, executives that have reshaped the industry, one is a physician. The good news is that of the 10 women to watch in healthcare, four are physicians including Dr. Patrice Harris, President-elect of the AMA.

I’ve shared with Modern Healthcare editors, LACMA’s diversity and continued efforts in Los Angeles to attract diverse physician leaders and Witt Kieffer, our executive placement partner can help. Contact me or Mark Andrew at MarkA@wittkieffer.com.

New Partnership with Equinox and Town & Country Travel

As a follow up to last week’s message, we are constantly looking to improve our 2019 portfolio of offerings for our members. We’ve struck a partnership with Equinox for those who are looking for a fitness and lifestyle option. We also have a unique partnership with Town & Country Travel for those who seek exclusive, ultra unique experiences.

That said, we would like to know what your interests are when it comes to travel.

Take the survey so we can build the best offerings for members only.

Exclusive Town & Country Event With Oceania Cruises

For those who love ocean, river or lake experiences, Town & Country is offering an invite to an exclusive event with Oceania Cruises featuring:

–    Wine about it! Meet their new resident wine expert over hors d’oeuvres and wine, of course!
–    What’s new with Oceania?: Fleetwide refurbishments, new ships, itineraries, and culinary immersion experiences

(Spaces are limited. Please advise your session time preference when you RSVP)

WHEN:  Wednesday, February 27th from 5:30 p – 6:15 p or 6:30 p – 7:15 p
WHERE:  Town & Country Travel
195 E Hillcrest Dr.
Thousand Oaks, CA 91360

RSVP with your preferred session time to heidi@countrytravel.com or call (805) 495-9888

There is Still Time to Renew Your Membership

Many of you have already renewed your 2019 membership with LACMA and CMA and we thank you for your continued support!

Whether advocating on behalf of physicians and patients at the Capitol, offering you free reimbursement assistance, connecting you to practice resources, or supporting public health initiatives, no other organizations represent the best interests of physicians, regardless of their specialty or practice setting, like LACMA and CMA.

If you have not yet renewed your dues, you may do so online by clicking below or by calling 213-226-0393.

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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