The County Voice

Untangling the Morass of the ACA

The implementation of the Affordable Care Act is a complex morass that will impact California’s 58 counties on wide variety of fronts – from budgetary to service delivery.  For most county officials, there are currently more questions than answers.

The CSAC Institute for Excellence in County Government has spent the past two days trying to answer some of those questions through a course that is providing county officials with a balanced, fact-based discussion on how federal health care reform is being implemented in California and its effect on county health, mental health and social services.

The issue is of obvious importance to county officials. Nearly 150 county supervisors and senior staff representing more than 30 counties attended the Thursday session in Orange County and today’s session at the CSAC Conference Center in Sacramento. And since there is a waiting list of more than 35 individuals wanting to take the course, Institute staff is looking at adding additional classes.

Course instructors were Lee Kemper, former Executive Director of the County Medical Services Program (CMSP), and Judith Reigel, Executive Director of County Health Executive Officers of California. They were joined by a number of county and non-profit experts for panel discussions ranging from “Residual Populations and County Responsibilities” and “Key Policy Issues Yet to be Addressed” to “The Fiscal Focus” and “Where are We Headed in Health Care in California: 2013-14 Proposed Budget.”

The Institute’s goal is to provide a practical continuing education experience designed to expand the capacity and capability of county officials to provide extraordinary services to their communities. Courses focusing on key policy issues are one way to accomplish this.

Overall, attendees found the ACA course, which was funded in part by a grant from the Lilly Foundation, to be an invaluable experience. “This is an extremely involved topic and this course clarified many concepts and questions,” said one student. Another said the course was “so relevant and timely. We are all struggling with this topic and all the unknowns.”

To learn more about the Institute or to view other upcoming courses, click here.

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