DIRECTOR’S DESK CHRISTINA R. GHALY, MD
March comes in like a lion and out like a lamb. In light of the wet weather that we have been experiencing, this appears to be especially true this year. Whereas we have had persistent drought for several years, the snow and rain are a welcome change of pace, and I am certain most of us are looking forward to enjoying Spring.
Governor Newsom’s Office declared an end to the state of emergency for the Covid-19 pandemic effective February 28, 2023. The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors filed a Motion ending the State of Emergency in Los Angeles County effective March 31, 2023. Although the virus is still circulating and causing illness, it is a relief to be mostly on the other side of the pandemic that caused so much illness and death. The pandemic yielded an enormous amount of teachings that will inform our ability to plan and respond to the next pandemic. I am deeply grateful for our LA Health Services staff who adapted so quickly to the innumerable challenges the pandemic presented. As the County, State, and Nation announce the end of the emergency and various emergency orders, be on the look-out in the future as our own Expected Practices related to COVID-19 testing, vaccination, and masking evolve.
Now that the state of emergency has officially ended, the Department of Public Social Services (DPSS) is reinstating annual Medi-Cal renewal procedures. Please remember that only DPSS can process Medi-Cal renewals. Please advise patients and anyone you know who is eligible for Medi-Cal to look out for packets of information in the mail with instructions on how to renew and prevent lapses in coverage.
For patients who are not eligible for Medi-Cal, LA Health Services is updating our Ability to Pay (ATP) plan. The first change is to make it no-cost or “free” for anyone who earns up to 200% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL), right now it’s free for individuals who earn up to 138% of FPL. For those that earn above 200% of the FPL but under 400% of FPL, we’ve lowered the out-of-pocket costs that individuals are asked to pay. The second change is an expansion of criteria for eligibility in the ATP program. This will enable those who have high medical costs, despite insurance, to qualify for ATP. These changes will be effective as of April 1, 2023, and are intended to facilitate our patients’ ability to obtain necessary care. Information on these programs can be found here or you can talk with the Patient Financial Services teams at our hospitals and clinics.
The California Department of Health Care Services has launched a landing page, KeepMediCalCoverage.org, where Medi-Cal members can check on the status of their Medi-Cal, learn more about the renewal process and how to update their contact information to receive important updates.
In this edition, we celebrate the completion of the renovation of the historic Harriman building at Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center.
March is Women’s History Month – a time to honor and reflect on the many contributions and roles that women play in our society. From a local perspective, this is an extraordinary time in history with five women serving on the Board of Supervisors for the first time.
It is also Social Work Month when we take a moment to acknowledge the important work done by social workers in various capacities across LA Health Services.
March is a good time to talk with your physician about a Colorectal Cancer screening. March is colorectal cancer awareness month. Cancer screenings should begin at age 45. Take a look at the article to learn more about it.
Thank you for all you do.
Dr. Christina Ghaly
Rancho Los Amigos – Historic Harriman Building Renovation ConcludesRancho Los Amigos – Historic Harriman Building Renovation Concludes https://dhs.lacounty.gov/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/Page-160-copy-1024x785.jpg 1024 785 Health Services Los Angeles County //dhs.lacounty.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/dhs-logo.svg
As part of the $418 million dollar Rancho Rising project at Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center (Rancho), the Harriman Building has been completely renovated and reopened to the public for normal business operations as of February 2023.learn more
Honoring Social WorkersHonoring Social Workers https://dhs.lacounty.gov/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/Social-Worker-month-2023-V3-1024x713.png 1024 713 Health Services Los Angeles County //dhs.lacounty.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/dhs-logo.svg
March is Social Work Month and March 21st was World Social Worker Day. The theme for Social Work Month, according to the National Association of Social Workers this year is “Social Work Breaks Barriers.” Social Workers are a vital part of LA Health Services and the commitment to provide comprehensive care for our LA County communities.learn more
March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness MonthMarch is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month https://dhs.lacounty.gov/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/colorectal-cancer-awareness-1024x614.jpg 1024 614 Health Services Los Angeles County //dhs.lacounty.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/dhs-logo.svg
Most adults should be screened for colon cancer starting at the age of 45. Colon cancer often starts as a small growth or lump called a polyp. Polyps can become cancer. When found early, they can often be taken out before they become cancer.learn more