Monday Rx: $1.9 Trillion in Aid, COVID-19 Update, and the Los Angeles Healthcare Awards

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$1.9 Trillion in Aid Update and Does Minimum Wage Increase Impact Social Determinants of Health?

While House passage of the legislation had been all but assured, the outlook is trickier in the Senate, where moderate Democrats have raised questions about a few provisions, including the structure of the state and local aid. Given the Senate's 50-50 split, Democrats can pass the legislation without any GOP votes only if they stay united and Vice President Harris breaks the tie. Democratic leaders and the White House want the bill passed by March 14, when enhanced unemployment benefits expire.

It's also unclear how the Senate will handle the $15 minimum wage provision under the budget reconciliation process: The action in the House came after the Senate parliamentarian ruled that the $15 minimum wage in the legislation is not permitted under Senate rules. House Democrats included it anyway, and it is not clear how the issue will get resolved.

Nearly two dozen House members want Biden and Harris’s help in keeping the minimum-wage provision in the bill. In a letter, the lawmakers cited two precedents, from 1967 and 1975, in which the vice president, acting as the president of the Senate, overruled the Senate parliamentarian. They asked Harris to do the same, but White House officials have so far signaled that they will respect the parliamentarian’s ruling.

Senior Democrats abandoned a backup plan to increase the minimum wage through a corporate tax penalty. Would raising the minimum wage impact small businesses? Is it a job killer? Does raising the minimum wage impact access to healthcare? Improve outcomes? I’d like to hear from members on this issue so we can share with our elected officials.

COVID-19 Update, Blue Shield Takeover and Herd Immunity

State health officials announced today that all counties will start playing by the same rulebook on Monday when Blue Shield will take over the distribution of vaccines in California.

A patchwork of COVID-19 vaccine eligibility policies that differ from county to county has deeply frustrated Californians. So, state officials hired Blue Shield, one of the state’s largest health insurers, to streamline and manage the logistics of allocating vaccines to local health departments and other vaccine providers.

Blue Shield today spelled out some of the details of how the new oversight will work. Ten counties — eight in the Central Valley plus Imperial and Riverside — will go first. This means that Blue Shield will make recommendations to state health officials on how many doses should go to each of those counties, and which providers should get them. Los Angeles, with its 10 million people will be in the second phase of the rollout. Blue Shield CEO Paul Markovich said that its recommendations for how many doses to distribute to each county will be based on priority groups in the state’s vaccination tiers as well as the state’s goals to provide equity for disadvantaged communities. Learn more

Much has been said and shared relative to herd immunity and here is a link highlighting AMA’s interview with the Biden Administration Chief Medical Advisor, Dr. Anthony Fauci.

Art and Healing

As the pandemic reaches the one-year mark, healthcare workers are increasingly burned out and traumatized.

Yesterday’s Los Angeles Times featured five physicians who use art to cope with the stress associated with the pandemic.

Learn more

Medtrainer Helps Practices with Credentialing, Compliance and Accreditation

Each week we profile a vetted preferred partner that can help our members. Our members routinely let us know that they need help when it comes to reimbursement, leveraging technology, enhancing the patient experience to improving practice efficiencies.

MedTrainer delivers affordable learning, compliance, credentialing and accreditation tools and support for practices within one platform. MedTrainer has over 2,500 customers representing over 15,000 healthcare locations and supports over 300,000 healthcare professionals. They maintain a blend of technology and human assisted support which has led to something unique in the software industry.

To learn more contact Buck Buckland: or let me know if you would like introductions.

Save the Date

The Patient Care Foundation’s annual LA Healthcare Awards will be taking place virtually on April 16, 2021. 

For more information, click here


Race Against Time Series

Thank you to Dr. David Hayes Bautista from the UCLA Center for the Study of Latino Health and Culture (CESLA) for being our guest on last week’s Zoom call hosted by Dr. Hector Flores. Dr. Hayes-Bautista discussed a history of Latinx physicians in California dating back to the 1700s, the dearth of Latinx physicians and health professionals in leadership, and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Latinx community and in California’s economy. Dr. Hayes Bautista will be our guest on this month’s Clear as Mud podcast as well.

Webinar: Telehealth Series for Small and Medium Sized Practices: (Pt. 11) Telehealth Strategy

Implementing telehealth is not an end in itself. Telehealth is a tool that physicians can leverage to improve quality and efficiency, and increase patient satisfaction. In this interactive session, physicians will learn how to build a strategy to incorporate telehealth into their practice, both during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Date: Thursday, March 4, 2021

Time: 12:15 pm - 1:15 pm

Register Here

Q2 Resolutions: Climate Change Townhall

The California Medical Association (CMA) is hosting a two-hour virtual climate change townhall on Thursday, March 4 (6 -8 p.m.). Because we have received a high volume of resolutions on this important topic, our Council on Science and Public Health has decided to host this townhall so that members can verbally provide testimony for the climate change resolutions that have been accepted as Q2 business for our year-round resolutions process. All members are invited to testify. If you are unable to join us for the virtual townhall, you can also comment via our normal discussion forum process.

Advance registration is required to attend the townhall. You can join the townhall at any point during the two-hour window and you will be placed into a queue to testify. You do not have to be present for the entire two hours.

Date: Thursday, March 4, 2021

Time: 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Register Here




"You are never too small to make a difference."


—Greta Thunberg

Gustavo Friederichsen

Chief Executive Officer

Los Angeles County Medical Association

“If it matters to our LACMA members, it matters to me.”

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