open menu close menu

The CHCF Blog

The California Health Care Foundation draws on experts from within and outside CHCF to share their health policy insights on this blog. We encourage readers to join the conversation by using the comments feature at the bottom of each article.

  1. ACA's Impact: Fewer Uninsured in Most Congressional Districts

    Lacey Hartman, Senior Research Fellow, State Health Access Data Assistance Center
    Lacey Hartman
    Lacey Hartman

    A new analysis by the State Health Access Data Assistance Center (SHADAC) provides information about the impacts of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) on the uninsured by all 435 congressional districts in the 50 states. The analysis, funded by the California Health Care Foundation, includes detailed infographics and data tables illustrating changes in the number and rate (percentage) of uninsured between 2013 and 2015 across all congressional districts and for a range of demographic groups within each district, including: race/ethnicity, income, citizenship, educational attainment, and employment status.

  2. Abraham Verghese: The Rx for Medicine Is Caring

    Steven Birenbaum, Senior Communications Officer
    Steven Birenbaum
    Steven Birenbaum

    "One of the essential qualities of the clinician is interest in humanity, for the secret of the care of the patient is in caring for the patient." —Dr. Francis Peabody

    On May 8, 2017, Dr. Abraham Verghese gave the closing talk at the CHCF Health Care Forum in San Francisco. In his address, "Telling the Story of What Matters to Patients," he advocated ardently for the role of empathy and human touch in the healing process, part of what he calls "imagining the patient's experience." Author of three best-selling books, including the novel Cutting for Stone, Dr. Verghese is professor and vice chair for the Theory and Practice of Medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine. I caught up with him for a brief conversation, which has been edited and condensed.

  3. As People Leave Jail and Prison, Clinics Connect Them to Needed Health Services

    Jane Garcia, CEO, La Clínica de La Raza
    David Panush, President, California Health Policy Strategies
    Jane Garcia
    Jane Garcia
    David Panush
    David Panush

    Among the more than 20 million Americans who gained health care coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are thousands of former prison and jail inmates in California. In some communities before the ACA, about 90% of people entering jail were uninsured. Most were not eligible for Medi-Cal and relied on emergency departments and underfunded county programs for health care. Because ACA coverage expansion included low-income childless adults, most of this population is now eligible for coverage upon "reentry," providing them with comprehensive services including primary care, mental health, and substance use disorder treatment.

  4. The $100,000 Challenge: Harnessing Innovation to Enhance Medicaid Performance

    Melissa Buckley, Director, Innovation Fund
    Melissa Buckley
    Melissa Buckley

    In a search of private market innovations that improve the way Medicaid health plans serve their members, the California Health Care Foundation (CHCF) Health Innovation Fund is sponsoring a competition that will award $100,000 to support implementation of a pilot project with a nonprofit safety-net plan.

    The Health Innovation Fund invests in companies with potential to improve access, quality, and efficiency to bring their solutions to the safety net. So far, we've supported advances in teledermatology, mobile consumer engagement, diabetes care, and asthma screening. Now we're teaming up with the Association for Community Affiliated Plans (ACAP) and Village Capital to launch the ACAP Medicaid Innovation Challenge. The judges will be looking for innovative, emerging companies that enable health plans to make it easier for Medicaid recipients to access needed care and resources.

  5. How CHCF's Leadership Program Reinvigorated Two Stellar Careers

    Heather Boerner
    Heather Boerner
    Heather Boerner

    When physicians Ann Lindsay and her husband, Alan Glaseroff, arrived in Palo Alto five years ago, they were on a mission: to provide better care at lower cost to the sickest and most complex patients served by Stanford University's employee health plan. Impressed by their design of care for patients with chronic conditions, the university invited them to establish the Stanford Coordinated Care clinic — and the impact was substantial. After six months under the couple's model, the overall cost of health care for the first group of 253 patients dropped by 13% compared to the previous six months, largely due to a 59% drop in ER visits and a 29% drop in inpatient admissions.

  6. Success of eConsult Implementation Depends on Workflow

    Robert Moore, Chief Medical Officer, Partnership HealthPlan of California
    Robert Moore
    Robert Moore

    Lack of access to specialists is a critical gap in quality care for vulnerable populations. With too few specialists, patients experience longer wait times, which can be costly in both medical and financial terms. Health Affairs recently published an article that examined the first three years that Los Angeles County's safety-net program used eConsult, an electronic system in which all requests from primary care providers for specialty assistance were reviewed by specialists. The eConsult system was rapidly adopted and decreased wait times to see specialists, according to the Health Affairs article. The California Health Care Foundation's Health Innovation Fund last year made a $750,000 investment in RubiconMD, which provides the eConsults technology platform. With this investment, CHCF supports an innovative approach to improving access to specialty care that implements eConsults for primary care providers in Medi-Cal managed care plans. The following was written in response to the Health Affairs report.

  7. High-Burden Health Spending Declined Among Individual-Market Participants and Medicare Beneficiaries Under the ACA

    Colin Planalp, Research Fellow, State Health Access Data Assistance Center
    Colin Planalp
    Colin Planalp

    A new analysis from the State Health Access Data Assistance Center (SHADAC) shows a statistically significant decline in high-burden health care spending among people with individual-market coverage since the 2014 implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). These and other findings are described in a new brief, funded by the California Health Care Foundation, that examines changes in state and national measures of financial burden and cost-related barriers to care since implementation of the ACA.

    Between 2013 and 2015, there was a statistically significant 5.9 percentage point decline (from 44.7% to 38.8%) in the US rate of people with individual-market coverage who reported spending more than 10% of family income on out-of-pocket health costs. This includes spending such as insurance premiums, deductibles, copays, and spending on prescription drugs. Average out-of-pocket spending among people with individual-market coverage also declined significantly over the same period from $6,831 to $5,508.

  8. Shalala: What I Learned About How Hard It Is to Reform Health Care

    J. Duncan Moore Jr.
    J. Duncan Moore Jr.
    J. Duncan Moore Jr.

    Independent journalist J. Duncan Moore, Jr., has been writing about health policy for more than 20 years. Recently he attended a health policy conference at the University of Miami where former Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala reflected on lessons learned from her career in health policy and politics. Here is his report.

    President Trump and Republican members of Congress continue to struggle with their many different plans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This is a high-risk venture on two levels. If they get their way, it could reduce the number of Americans with health insurance by more than 24 million, do away with essential health benefit rules, allow insurance companies to exclude customers with pre-existing conditions, and more.

  9. Californians in Individual Market Spent $2,500 Less on Care in 2015 Than Before the ACA

    Amy Adams, Senior Program Officer, Improving Access
    Amy Adams
    Amy Adams

    Two years into the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Californians who bought health insurance on the individual market spent $2,500 less on health care compared to 2013, the year before the ACA was fully implemented, according to data from the US Census Bureau's Current Population Survey (CPS) available on ACA 411. This decline was likely driven primarily by the premium tax credits and cost-sharing reductions provided through the ACA's health insurance marketplaces. This progress toward making health care more affordable is at risk as federal lawmakers debate repealing or radically changing the ACA.

  10. First Do No Harm: Changing Tactics in the Opioid Epidemic

    Kelly Pfeifer, Director, High-Value Care
    Kelly Pfeifer
    Kelly Pfeifer

    The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) recently presented CHCF's Kelly Pfeifer, MD, with the Beverlee A. Myers Award, its highest honor for an individual exhibiting outstanding leadership and accomplishments in public health in California. Pfeifer was recognized for her work leading efforts to address the opioid epidemic, which claims the lives of more than 2,000 Californians each year. This article is adapted from Pfeifer's remarks at the April 4 award ceremony.

Explore
Connect