The regular Digest updates are below two important pieces of policy news.
We’re one step closer to pest-free housing in California
With support from many of you, SB 488, authored by Senator Hueso and co-sponsored by RAMP, successfully navigated the state legislature passing both the Senate and Assembly unanimously! The bill would address an existing enforcement gap by expanding the authority to determine pest infestations to local code enforcement officers in jurisdictions without the services of a Local Health Officer. This would ensure that all tenants, regardless of where they live, can have existing laws enforced ensuring their homes are healthy and pest-free. Because of the clear links between exposure to pests and asthma and because substandard housing conditions are more common in the same low income communities and communities of color where we find the strongest disparities in asthma rates and outcomes, addressing this loophole is an important step in addressing the community and environmental inequities that contribute to asthma disparities. Click here to learn more about this issue. While we are happy to get to this stage, there is still work to be done to pass this into law. Up next is Governor Jerry Brown. If you support this bill, you can fax a letter of support to the Governor’s office urging him to sign the bill – even if you previously submitted a letter to Senator Hueso. Click here for a sample letter, including contact information.
New federal regulation a win for asthma management
A new rule recently issued by the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) has exciting implications for support for asthma management. Beginning January 1, 2014, Medicaid (either directly or through its managed care contractors) will be able to cover and pay for community-based asthma interventions when carried out by asthma educators, healthy homes specialists, or other community health workers, so long as the services have been initially recommended by a physician or other licensed practitioner. Until this rule goes into effect, current Medicaid regulations limit coverage of preventive services to those that are provided by a physician or other licensed practitioner. For more information about the new rule, see this policy brief provided by the Childhood Asthma Leadership Coalition.
Studies and Reports