View from the Capitol
Engage Magazine Summer 2022

View from the Capitol

By Meghan Rose, General Counsel & Chief Government Affairs Officer and the policy team at LeadingAge California

This September will mark the end of a two-year California Legislative session unlike any other. As California and the nation emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Legislature has struggled to increase legislative output to a pre-pandemic level while protecting members and staff and maintaining transparency in operations. This has been further complicated by divisive party politics, surging inflation, and ever-growing workforce and supply-chain shortages. 

Meghan Rose, LeadingAge CaliforniaIn late June, the Legislature and Governor came to an agreement on a historic budget for State Fiscal Year 2022-23. The centerpiece of the agreement is a $17 billion inflation relief package that will offer tax refunds to approximately 23 million Californians. While LeadingAge California was disappointed not to see greater investments for older adults, we applaud the State’s historic investments in our healthcare workforce. The budget includes more than $1 billion over the next three years for the Workforce for a Healthy California for All Program, which includes funding for developing healthcare professions such as nursing, community health work, and social work.

This funding will supplant existing state workforce initiatives that seek to expand career pathways for Certified Nurse Assistants, the HBCS Clinical and Direct Care Workforce, and the IHSS Workforce. LeadingAge California is thrilled to be the recipient of a $25 million grant from the California Department of Health Care Access and Information for The Gateway-In Project. The Gateway-In Project will train and certify 2,700 new Certified Nurse Assistants and Home Health Aides to work in aging services settings. 

One of LeadingAge California’s sponsored initiatives, the Healthier Homes Pilot, was included in the 2022-23 State Budget. The Healthier Homes Pilot is a housing-based population health model that seeks to help integrate healthcare and services for older adults living in affordable housing. The budget includes $12.5 million for the Healthier Homes Pilot to operate in eight counties over three years. The California Department of Aging will issue grants to nonprofits to employ a Registered Nurse and a Community Health Worker to work onsite at three affordable senior housing sites in each of the eight counties. 

Despite this year’s successes, there is much work to do in the 2022-23 legislative session. Next year, we will work to re-introduce initiatives that did not move forward this year, including the Long-term Care Mutual Aid Program and the Rent Stabilization Program for Older Adults and People with Disabilities. Additionally, LeadingAge California will continue to advocate for preserving and increasing Medi-Cal reimbursements for long-term care providers, creating a long-term services and supports public financing option, and bridging the digital divide for low-income older adults.