October 2021 Public Policy Update

Originally posted on October 8, 2021

Hospice Palliative Care Program Extended

The Coalition for Compassionate Care of California (CCCC) is very pleased by the governor’s recent signing of Senate Bill 353 (Roth), which extends until January 1, 2027, the Palliative Care Pilot Program (PCPP) allowing hospice licensees to provide palliative care to non-hospice patients. The PCPP pilot, which was originally implemented under SB 294 (Statutes 2017), was set to end on December 31.  CCCC co-sponsored SB 353 with the California Hospice and Palliative Care Association (CHAPCA). [Read more about SB 383 in our May 17 Blog post.]

Governor Signs End of Life Option Act Legislation

Governor Newsom has signed SB 380, which makes significant changes to California’s End of Life Option Act (EoLOA), including reducing the required waiting period between a patient’s oral requests from 15 days to 48 hours. The changes go into effect on January 1, 2022. CCCC takes no position on SB 380 or the EoLOA. Rather, CCCC’s role is to serve as a neutral source for information on the law. [Read more about SB 380 in our May 17 and September 17 Blog posts.]

Familiar Names Receive Gubernatorial Appointments

Recent appointments by Governor Newsom to leadership positions within the State Administration include some familiar names:
Kimberly McCoy Wade, who has served as the Director of the California Department of Aging (CDA) since 2019, has been appointed as Senior Advisor on Aging, Disability, and Alzheimer’s for the Office of Governor Gavin Newsom. Under her leadership, the Master Plan for Aging includes initiatives focused on palliative care and advance care planning. In this new position, McCoy Wade will work to advance the goals of the Master Plan for Aging and other cross-Cabinet initiatives designed to benefit California's growing and diversifying aging population. 
Susan DeMarois, who previously served as Director of Public Policy and Advocacy for the Alzheimer’s Association, has been appointed by the Governor to take over the position of Director of the CDA. DeMarois has collaborated with CCCC on several projects over the years, and we look forward to working with her in her new position.
Gilda J. Dominguez of Emanate Health has been appointed to the state’s Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology and Hearing Aid Dispensers Board. Dominguez serves as Emanate Health’s Director of Hospice, Home Health and Palliative Care, Speech Pathology, and Acute Rehabilitation. CCCC is pleased to see someone with such a strong background in palliative care appointed to a state board.  Emanate Health is a sustaining supporter of CCCC.
CCCC congratulates McCoy Wade, DeMarois, and Dominguez on their appointments.

Alzheimer's Disease and Related Dementias are 3rd Leading Cause of Death in California

According to an updated report released this week by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), approximately 660,000 Californians over 65 years of age live with Alzheimer’s Disease – a figure that is expected to double by 2040 – and the disease is the third leading cause of death in California. Alzheimer's Disease and Related Dementias Facts and Figures in California: Current Status and Future Projections, which was originally issued in 2009, was updated to help California better meet the growing demand for support and services that meaningfully address the needs of individuals living with Alzheimer’s Disease and related dementias and their caregivers.

CCCC Supports Provider Training in Palliative Care Act Legislation

On September 29, U.S. Senators Jacky Rosen (D-NV) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) announced the introduction of their Provider Training in Palliative Care Act legislation. This bipartisan legislation would allow participants in the National Health Service Corps program to defer their services for up to a year to do additional training in palliative care, so long as they provide primary care during their service with the Corps.  The National Health Services Corps is designed to grow the primary care workforce by awarding scholarships and loan repayment opportunities. Currently, participants are prohibited from deferring for training in palliative care, regardless of whether or not they continue to care for patients as a primary care provider.