Published On: October 16, 2017
(Garden Grove, CA) As Vice-Chair of the Senate’s Health Committee, Senator Janet Nguyen is pleased to announce the signing of Senate Bill 4 (SB 4), authored by State Senator Tony Mendoza, a member of the Orange County legislative delegation. This bill was sponsored by the Orange County Taxpayers Association and is effective immediately. SB 4 implements critical safeguards to protect CalOptima’s more than 797,000 patients by codifying the membership categories of the CalOptima Board of Directors and specifying the duties of board members, and their terms. SB 4 ensures that the CalOptima Board of Directors has public, consumer, and provider sector representation.
Proponents of SB 4 shared concerns that a member of the Board of Supervisors had attempted to remove all members of the CalOptima Board of Directors after losing their bid to serve as Chairman of the CalOptima Board of Directors. Proponents believe that SB 4 was necessary to eliminate political posturing and theatrics that could hurt the stability of CalOptima and the health and wellbeing of its members. According to the bill’s author, the goal of SB 4 is to ensure that the CalOptima Board of Directors has the expertise necessary to provide quality care to its members while protecting taxpayers. In doing so, SB4 also requires a two-thirds vote by the Board of Supervisors to remove a sitting CalOptima Board of Directors member, further protecting CalOptima from undue influences. These changes reflect the State of California’s interest in protecting CalOptima, whose $3.4 billion budget is funded by State and Federal dollars. Through SB 4, the state also seeks to ensure that all members of the CalOptima’s Board of Directors have an equal say in the agency’s direction and are not subject to control by any one entity or agency. SB 4 had bipartisan support in both the State Senate and Assembly and would not take away the ability of the Board of Supervisors to appoint members.
“At a time when the healthcare landscape is changing, we need to ensure that CalOptima remains as stable as possible,” said Senator Janet Nguyen. “I have spent my entire public service career defending the interests of the people I serve, especially children, seniors and persons with disabilities. SB 4 was necessary to create stability at CalOptima. This bill was needed to protect the patients CalOptima serves.”
With the signing of SB 4, the CalOptima Board of Directors will retain its current composition as approved by the Board of Supervisors in 2016. The CalOptima Board consists of 10 members, of whom nine are voting members and one is a non-voting member. The Orange County Board of Supervisors is represented by two members and one additional County Supervisor who serves as an alternate; this composition was unanimously approved by the Orange County Board of Supervisors.
In addition to being sponsored by the Orange County Taxpayers Association, a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to supporting tax supported programs that are fair, understandable, cost-effective and good for the economy, SB 4 is supported by the Orange County Business Council, Orange County Medical Association, California Medical Association, AltaMed Health Services Corporation, Alzheimer’s Orange County, American Academy of Pediatrics – California, Children’s Hospital of Orange County, the City of Santa Ana, Coalition of Orange County Community Health Centers, Kaiser Permanente, KPC Health Inc., MemorialCare Health System, Prime Healthcare, St. Joseph Hoag Health, and Tenet Healthcare.