California Future Health Workforce Commission
Kevin Barnett, DrPH, MCP, Co-Director at the California Future Health Workforce Commission and Senior Investigator at the Public Health Institute, presented a recently established multi-stage statewide workforce development plan. The program aims to improve the following health-related sectors: primary care & prevention, behavioral health, and aging. Core principles of the plan include socioeconomic & geographic equity and diversity. Barnett states that, in addition to government funded agencies, other public health entities are involved to ensure the execution of the goals stated in this initiative. The program spans a 12-year timeframe, from 2018 to 2030, for the full implementation of the plan with the potential for profound transformation.
A key component of the plan is to engage Community Health Workers (CHWs). The plan will increase CHW jobs and create a universal framework about how to educate the future workforce. The program’s state advisory board will propose ways to effectively support and measure engagement of the CHW workforce. For example, the advisory group will consider worker burnout since CHWs often work with vulnerable populations and these jobs can be very taxing, thus CHWs may be prone to burnout. In addition, the advisory group will consider ways to support CHWs in their career advancement across various sectors, from social work to care management.
Andy Stone, Board Director at Santa Cruz County Workforce Development Board, gave an introduction to the federally funded program Slingshot, which is used by public and private sector organizations to enhance skills of workers to prevent future burnout. To achieve optimal success, this program is assists both the employees and employers. Through peer coaching and provision of scholarships for employees to attend trainings, the potential to improve an employee’s skillset benefits organizations and their workers.
Susan Marscellas, Regional Healthcare Coordinator at Monterey County Workforce Development Board, outlined the Slingshot proposal initiatives. These initiatives include defining universal skills & training needed for CHWs, healthcare career awareness by disseminating information, and expanding specialty nursing education through a shared database.
Community Health Worker Certificate Program
Adrienne Saxton, Health Science Faculty at Cabrillo College and Lecturer at CSUMB, presented Cabrillo College’s Community Health Worker (CHW) Certificate of Achievement program. This is a health promotion program that teaches students to be CHWs. CHWs connect community members and patients to the healthcare system. Their roles include coaching & motivational interviewing, working with health providers, and policy development. Many Cabrillo College CHW students are already working as volunteers in CHW positions in the county [Figure 1]. To increase the success of this program Saxton encourages community members and clinics to promote this program, create internships that apply to CHW students, and provide feedback on the program’s direction.
Office of Representative Jimmy Panetta
Taylor Brenis, Congressional Aid from the Office of Representative Jimmy Panetta, discussed several federal healthcare-related bills & their impact, and Representative Panetta’s positions. Led by a majority vote, the recent GOP tax bill may result in a 2 trillion-dollar debt increase. In order to offset the financial repercussions of this, many citizens want to decrease funding for Medicare and Medicaid. This could drastically increase health insurance premiums for other health plans.
In regards to the recent change in Medicare’s physician fee schedule, on July 27, 2018, there was a proposed rule for the 2019 calendar year to expand access to telehealth services and reduce patient’s drug payments. This would streamline documentation of patient visits and payments for those visits.
H.R. 676, Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act, is currently supported by 122 Members of Congress. This act’s function is to create awareness and outline logistics for single payer financing for all healthcare systems. Representative Panetta does not agree with this one-size-fits-all policy, however Brenis states that he does agree that Congress should work collaboratively to address the challenges of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
In addition, Representative Panetta voted against the American Health Care Act (AHCA). AHCA would have repealed the ACA and greatly affected the maintenance of health for those with a pre-existing conditions, expectant mothers, veterans, and individuals seeking mental health treatment. Representative Panetta held numerous round table discussions with insurance and healthcare providers to consider the impacts of the ACA and what needs to be done to improve our healthcare system.