Focusing on key issues including Childhood Obesity and Systemic Healthcare Reform
ORANGE, CA – As a faith-based organization, St. Joseph Health continues to address the needs of their communities by setting its advocacy priorities that include Systemic Healthcare Reform, Protecting the Safety Net, Childhood Obesity and Wellness and Physician Issues.
“Today’s health care discussion is at the forefront of systemic change in the way in which we delivery care in the United States. Its imperative that St. Joseph Health elevates our voice in the key issues that concern our communities, hospitals and the industry as a whole,” states Ronald DiLuigi, Vice President of Advocacy and Government Relations. “Our goal is to focus on the areas that will help us continue to provide a value-based care throughout the communities we serve many of which are in need. We commit to advocate for the issues that impact quality of care as well as delivery of care while maintaining the values of Catholic social principles.”
St. Joseph Health’s 2010 advocacy priorities include:
Protect the Safety Net
Major budget deficits are having severe impact on States, particularly California, and to a slightly lesser extent Texas. State and County safety net programs are at major risk of being extensively cut or eliminated. Sustaining gains in access to care that have been achieved over the past 10 years is also at great risk due to these same budget dynamics. SJH will focus advocacy efforts on precluding or minimizing these imminent cuts. The California Section 1115 hospital waiver which expires in August, as well as the hospital provider fee program which awaits CMS approval, are two areas in which significant efforts are being exerted to obtain additional Federal funding for hospitals. SJHS will continue our collaboration with others to achieve this funding, and then to protect their proceeds from present and future threats.
Childhood Obesity and Wellness
In support of SJH efforts to create healthiest communities, we will track federal and state legislative efforts to reduce childhood obesity and seek ways to collaborate with state and federal legislators who author such legislation. Advocate with elected officials and community leaders to raise public awareness for childhood obesity. Enhance awareness of SJHS’s Healthy4Life program through meeting with elected officials and potential partners, to insure that reducing childhood obesity is seen as an essential component to a healthy community.
Systemic Health Care Reform
Consistent with the SJH vision of Health Reform, engage in and support public policy that will lead to systematic health reform. While movement of Healthcare Reform legislation in Congress is currently stalled, SJHS abides by Catholic tradition which views access to necessary healthcare as a fundamental right, and justice demands continued advocacy for health care coverage for the uninsured. SJHS will continue to aggressively advocate for reform.
NOTE: Shortly after the SJH Board adapted the priorities, federal health reform was signed into law by the President. Going forward, we expect significant follow-up activity, development of regulations and implementation. SJHS Advocacy will engage in these activities as appropriate and will continue to advocate for key issues that impact our ministries and the communities we serve.
Promote and enhance opportunities for integration and collaboration between physicians and hospitals consistent with the movement toward Delivery System Reform. Focus should be on “care coordination” models among providers and patient centered medical home models. Advocate for a remedy to the problem of fair Medicare, physician reimbursement (so called “doc-fix”) to resolve the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGC) formula problems that have plagued the Part B Medicare structure over the last 5 years. Increase awareness of California’s and Texas’ outdated Corporate Practice of Medicine Laws, expanding physician shortage, and the negatively perceived State Peer Review System.
In addition to specific issues listed above, SJH will continue to focus on Catholic Ethical Integrity or issues core to our Catholic healthcare ministry (i.e. conscience protection, end of life care), which according to Diluigi are always a priority for SJHS.