California Health Advocates’ Milestones

California Health Advocates’ Milestones

Below are some sample highlights of key milestones, accomplishments and recognition California Health Advocates has experienced in the past 10 years. In addition, California Health Advocates has received growing media coverage in the various state and nationwide newspapers, magazines, TV and radio shows. California Health Advocates is known as a place to turn to for Medicare information by California beneficiaries, their families, the statewide HICAP network, health care professionals and bipartisan policy makers. (For Key Events, also see Kaiser Family Foundation Medicare Timeline)

1997

Key Events

California Health Advocates’ Milestones

  • California Health Advocates/HICAP incorporates as 501c3; Board of Directors = 24 HICAP Managers
  • Receives 1st grant from Administration on Aging (AoA) for Medicare fraud prevention (’97-’99)
  • CA Department of Aging (CDA) provides all HICAP programs with computers and internet access – grant from California HealthCare Foundation (CHCF). –Critically important to California Health Advocates’ development as HICAP network had powerful mode of statewide communicating and organizing
  • Training and Policy Specialist, Bonnie Burns, awarded ‘Leadership and Advocacy Award’ from SHIP program directors for “national leadership on long term care insurance issues, outstanding accomplishments in research, education and technical assistance, and persistent advocacy on behalf of Medicare beneficiaries
  • Starting budget is $178K

1998

Key Events

  • Medicare Plus Choice begins

California Health Advocates’ Milestones

  • HICAP’s 1-800 # is preserved
  • Receives 1st CA Department of Aging (CDA) grant for providing HICAP regional training
  • Senior Counselors Against Medicare Swindlers (SCAMS) receives computers from Microsoft (Microsoft PC Empowerment Initiative) for counseling and education on Medicare fraud

1999

Key Events

California Health Advocates’ Milestones

  • Clare Smith hired as California Health Advocates’ CEO/President (Bob Miller was California Health Advocates’ first CEO/President earlier in 1998)
  • Establishes cahealthadvocates.org
  • Broadens mission to serve all California Medicare beneficiaries, their families and health care professionals in addition to HICAP; changes its name form CA HICAP Association to CA Health Advocates
  • Receives ‘HICAP Immediate Response’ grant from California HealthCare Foundation (CHCF) to provide individual grants to HICAP programs for efforts in HMO non-renewal education, outreach and advocacy Events

2000

Key Events

  • Medicare celebrates 35 years

California Health Advocates’ Milestones

Lily-LearnMedicare

  • Supports legislation to establish $130K minimum per HICAP Program
  • Receives 2nd AoA grant (funding for ’00 – ’02) for Medicare fraud prevention – Senior Medicare Patrol project (then called SCAMS)
  • Provides regional HICAP trainings (2-year grant with CDA)
  • By-laws change board members to 7 HICAP Managers & 6 non-HICAP
  • Calmedicare.org established by California HealthCare Foundation – California Health Advocates provides consulting services on web content
  • Receives award from California Health Decisions for advocacy and education
  • Forms 1st partnership with Medicare Rights Center – created Medicare State-based Training and Resources (MedSTAR) – Let’s Learn Medicare project 1 year grant from Archstone Foundation
  • Budget reaches just over $500K

2001

Key Events

  • 196 HMOs in CA

California Health Advocates’ Milestones

2001-CMS-Award

  • Bonnie Burns receives the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Beneficiary Services Award of Merit for consistent and outstanding work to improve Medigap and long term care insurance protections for Medicare beneficiaries
  • Provides outreach training and distribution of CA Wellness Guide, distributing over 10,000 English guides and 2,500 Spanish guides. Funded by grant from The California Endowment (TCE)
  • Participates in CHCF advisory groups addressing Medicare related issues –reviewing the Consumers Union Guide to Medicare HMOs and California Medical Review, Inc. (CMRI – now Lumetra) Medicare FFS Quality reports. Also updates and verifies content on www.calmedicare.org website. Projects funded by CHCF grant through ’02
  • Organizes Medigap Monitoring Demonstration project enhancing HICAP’s ability to collect, report, and track data on market conduct violations by issuers of MediGap insurance. Also strengthens partnerships among the CMS, HICAP, the CA Department of Insurance, and CDA. (Grant from CDA)
  • Partners with Center for Medicare Education in DC in improving HICAP awareness for Medicare beneficiaries younger than 65. Establishes a CA advisory panel on younger than 65 year old Medicare beneficiary issues, research and develop the content for an ‘Issue Brief’ and create a training module for use by the HICAPs, community-based Medicare information agents and State Health Insurance and Assistance Programs (SHIP) around the nation.
  • Translates 20 fact sheets into Spanish – funded by Sierra Health Foundation
  • Works with United Laotian Community Development, Inc. in translating four fact sheets into Laotian. Project funded by Contra Costa County Employment and Human Services Dept. Marks beginning of establishing strong ties with South East Asian community

2002

California Health Advocates’ Milestones

25.-CHAOfficeOpeningSacramento Office Opening Celebration, 2002. Bonnie Burns, CHA, and Wayne Lindley, California Dept. of Aging HICAP Team

20-CHAOfficeOpening-KWPBJCSacramento Office Opening Celebration, 2002. Karen Weddle, former HICAP Program Manager, Peter Bauer with CMS, and Jack Christie, former California Health Advocates Board Chair

2003

Key Events

  • Fast track appeals procedure established for Medicare managed care plans
  • SB 413 (Speier): Amends the maximum the CDA can annually assess on a health care service plan for each person enrolled under a pre-paid Medicare program serving Medicare eligible beneficiaries from $1.00 to $1.20. (later increased to $1.49)
  • Passage of Medicare Modernization Act of 2003

California Health Advocates’ Milestones

2004

Key Events

  • 117 HMOs
  • CA performance review – California Health Advocates advocates for statewide healthcare consumer assistance program using HICAP as model
  • Medicare Drug Discount Program begins

California Health Advocates’ Milestones

  • Manages 1-800 HICAP Orphan calls (grant from CDA)
  • CalMedicare Advocates Newsletter begins
  • Establishes California Health Advocates Los Angeles office
  • Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) project receives $300K 3-year grant from Administration on Aging (see article)
  • California Department of Insurance (CDI) Commissioner John Garamendi appoints Bonnie Burns to serve on CDI Curriculum Board (see article)
  • Administration on Aging honors Stanislaus County’s HICAP Program Manager Frank Dotson (see article)
  • Receives $340K CHCF grant to support HICAP programs education/outreach with passage of MMA of 2003 (see “>article)
  • Receives two-year grant from CA Dept. of Managed Health Care (DMHC) Office of the Patient Advocate (OPA) to coordinate statewide community education and consultant services addressing outreach to seniors and their families about Medicare managed care plans and OPA education materials. Also distributed Senior Guide
  • Conducts 14 California Medicare Coalition (CMC) meetings and 20 training workshops, reaching over 1500 participants on issues addressing the MMA, Medicare coverage for people with disabilities, Medicare fraud and abuse, Medigap updates, and Medicare Savings Programs
  • Participate in 13 statewide educational events (excluding the CMC meetings) and 4 national conferences and 7 regional professional training events reaching approximately 1,200 Medicare information intermediaries, professionals and beneficiaries, consumer advocates and social and legal services professionals
  • Participates on at least 12 statewide and national conference calls with the World Institute on Disability, Medicare Rights Center ‘Medicare Advocates’, Disability Rights Advocates, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), State Health Insurance Counseling and Assistance Programs (SHIP) Resource Center, National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) and Health Assistance Partnership (HAP)

2005

Key Events

  • Medicare Drug Discount Program continues and preparation for Part D begins…
  • New Medicare expedited appeal rights gained for beneficiaries w/ Orig. Medicare for skilled nursing facility, home health, hospice or comprehensive outpatient rehabilitation facility (CORF) services discharge or termination

California Health Advocates’ Milestones

  • Partners with Consumers Union Best Buy Drugs (see article)
  • Partners with Medicare Rights Center in publishing Issue Briefs (click to view various Issue Briefs: Sept. 2007, July 2007, January 2007, Oct. 2006, Feb. 2006, Nov. 2005
  • Partners with National Senior Citizens Law Center in producing Low-income Advocates Alerts on Part D issues.
  • Publishes two important articles addressing racism and white privilege
  • SMP receives 3-year ‘integration’ grant from AoA for expanding current SMP work to under-served communities
  • Receives 2-year CHCF grant to improve decision-making support to CA’s Medicare consumers. Also formalizes partnership with Medicare Rights Center (MRC) in area of Medicare policy advocacy
  • Works with National Senior Citizens Law Center (NSCLC) and Center for Medicare Advocacy (CMA) in producing policy briefs for media and policymakers on issues regarding Part D and low-income beneficiaries – funded by 2-year grant from The CA Endowment (TCE)
  • Works with Legal Assistance for Seniors and Center for Health Care Rights in updating HICAP Counselor Handbook and MMA training materials – funded by CDA grant
  • California Health Advocates Attorney, David Lipschutz receives ‘Super Lawyer Award’ and is identified as a rising star in the legal world in Super Lawyers Magazine
  • Receives grant from The CA Wellness Foundation to fund core operations
  • Budget reaches $1.1 million

2006

Key Events

  • Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage begins

California Health Advocates’ Milestones

  • Organizes and participates in over 100 events, reaching over 12,000 individuals
  • Publishes 15 comprehensive low-income health care advocate alerts, 6 bi-monthly newsletters and 4 public policy briefs addressing care access issues and older Californians
  • Participates in Congressional Joint Informational Hearing on challenges in implementing Medicare Part D –
  • Testifies before U.S. House of Representative, Committee on Energy and Commerce in hearing by Subcommittee on Health on implementation of Medicare drug benefit
  • Receives 3-year grant from California Wellness Foundation; and California Health Advocates’ SMP project receives 3-year grant from Administration on Aging (see articles)
  • Launches web-based Part D Discussion Forum site – funded by CHCF grant
  • Establishes partnership with the Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC) based in Washington D.C. to help in reaching out to SEA elders and their families about resources and help available through the mainstream aging services network in California
  • Continues low-income advocacy work with NSCLC and CMA; and works with World Institute on Disability in updating disability fact sheets and conducting educational town hall meetings
  • Bonnie Burns receives unprecedented recognition for her work with National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) (12/06). (See article)

2007

Key Events

  • Medicare Advantage Private-Fee-For-Service (PFFS) plans and Medical Savings Accounts (MSA) enter market

California Health Advocates’ Milestones

  • Presents on Medicare Advantage plans at Families USA conference (1/07)
  • Quoted in U.S. News and World Report article on Medicare private-fee-for-service plans (2/07) – this article is token to the growing number of articles, media press California Health Advocates is receiving on Medicare issues and advocacy
  • David Lipschutz performs Medicare Acronym ‘Rap’ (2/07)
  • David Lipschutz testifiesbefore U.S. House of Representatives:
    Committee on Ways & Means, hearing by the Subcommittee on Health on abusive sales practices of Medicare Advantage private-fee-for-service (PFFS) plans (5/07)
  • David Lipschutz testifies before U.S. House of Representatives:
    Committee on Energy & Commerce, hearing by the Subcommittee on Oversight & Investigations on predatory sales practices of MA plans (6/07)
  • Bonnie Burns and David Lipschutz testify on MA plan marketing practices at NAIC conference
  • In process of updating Medicare training material, developing standardized counseling tools and comparison charts, fact sheets and providing training opportunities to the HICAP network and CMC members. Is developing its first marketing plan. Projects funded by CHCF grant
  • California Health Advocates celebrates 10 years of success in policy, advocacy and education!
Our blogger Karen J. Fletcher is CHA's publications consultant. She provides technical expertise, writing and research on Medicare, health disparities and other health care issues. With a Masters in Public Health from UC Berkeley, she serves in health advocacy as a trainer and consultant. See her current articles.