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CMA's Top Highlights for 2023


Medi-Cal Rate Increase: In a monumental victory for physicians and patients alike, the California Medical Association (CMA) achieved a historic milestone with the passage of budget legislation this year that will provide the largest Medi-Cal rate increase in the state’s history. This transformative step, which will make meaningful strides toward fulfilling Medi-Cal’s promise of access to health care for millions of Californians, will be implemented in stages. The first stage of Medi-Cal rate increases will be in 2024, with greater increases in 2025.
Initiative to Expand Access: CMA and the Coalition to Protect Access to Care, a broad and diverse group of health care organizations, filed a statewide ballot initiative with the California Attorney General’s office to make permanent the transformative Medi-Cal rate increases established in the state budget. The Protect Access to Healthcare Act is critical to ensuring the accessibility and affordability of health care services for all Californians.
Fighting Burdensome Payor Policies: CMA fought new policies from both Cigna and UnitedHealthcare that would have increased administrative and prior authorization burdens on physicians. After CMA mounted opposition to the polices, Cigna announced it was pausing implementation of its modifier 25 policy to re-evaluate, while UnitedHealthcare announced it would pause the planned expansion of prior authorization requirements.
Stopping Dangerous Bills: CMA advocacy was responsible for defeating or keeping several pieces of legislation that would have been harmful to patients from moving this year. AB 616 (vetoed) would have required audited financial reports and statements from medical groups to be released to the public; SB 524 would have allowed retail chain pharmacists to furnish medications treating conditions identified through CLIA-waived tests performed by a pharmacist; AB 1570 would have allowed optometrists to perform delicate eye surgeries; and AB 1751 would have forced physicians to inform patients about nonpharmacological treatments for pain.
Legal Victories: CMA-sponsored legislation requiring health plans to fairly reimburse health care providers for the costs of COVID-19 testing during the COVID-19 state of emergency was upheld by the Los Angeles Superior Court, while the California Supreme Court confirmed that CMA has legal standing to sue Aetna Health for alleged violations of the Unfair Competition Law. CMA also continued its amicus support of the Texas Medical Association’s various cases regarding the No Suprises Act, seeing numerous victories throughout the year.
Trusted Data Exchange Experts: To help California physicians prepare for the new statewide Data Exchange Framework (DxF), CMA developed resource materials, partnered with the California Health and Human Services Agency on a six-part webinar series, and worked closely to encourage physicians to sign the Data Sharing Agreement (DSA) and receive grant funding. CMA was able to support 50+ physician practices and IPAs through educational assistance and grant opportunities, resulting in these practices achieving nearly $2.8 million in grant funding under the DxF.
Loan Forgiveness for California Physicians: CMA won a long-fought victory with the U.S. Department of Education, who reversed its Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF) rule by granting California physicians the ability to participate in the program. CMA then created multiple educational resources to help California physicians take advantage of loan forgiveness, including a step-by-step walkthrough of the process.
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Champion: The National Association of Asian Pacifics in Politics and Public Affairs (NAAPPPA) recognized CMA as one of its Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Champions for 2023. The award acknowledged CMA’s efforts to make diversity and inclusion a strategic focus for the organization. Through this focus, CMA worked to increase Medi-Cal access to care; assisted physicians in accessing Equity and Practice Transformation Payments from the Department of Health Care Services; and led promotions around the Physicians for a Healthy California (PHC) inaugural Health Equity Leadership Summit. In 2023, CMA also sponsored AB 470 (signed by the Governor), which recognizes California’s ever-increasing diversity of language by affirming the importance of cultural competency and language fluency as a core tenet of continuing medical education (CME).
Safeguarding Physician/Patient Relationship: In its continued support of reproductive rights, CMA sponsored two bills: SB 487, which prevents providers from having their Medi-Cal provider eligibility threatened by states with abortion bans, and AB 571, to alter the insurance code to prevent insurance companies/entities from unreasonably increasing liability premiums or denying coverage to providers based on the services they provide. Both bills were signed into law by Governor Newsom. Additionally, CMA updated the Reproductive Issues section of its Health Law Library with new documents to ensure that physicians, lawyers, policymakers and other stakeholders understand the impact of recent legal changes on the practice of medicine in California.
Increasing Access to Vaccines: PHC wrapped up a multi-year program to support physicians who provide COVID-vaccinations. After five grant cycles, PHC had supported a total of 3,426 organizations representing 4,506 vaccination sites. Of the 4,506 vaccination sites awarded, 2,656 (62%) had sites in health equity areas that match high-priority zip codes. Overall, the program funded $59.3 million to lead efforts to increase the accessibility of vaccines in marginalized communities who are at greater risk for getting COVID-19 and becoming severely ill.
Leading in Health IT: CMA’s first health IT conference, Health IT: Powering Value-Based Care, brought together over 150 thought leaders from across the country for a very important conversation on the evolution taking place in health IT. The sold-out conference welcomed physicians, medical groups and IPAs, health plans, health information organizations and others who took the learnings from this conference to better position themselves and their organizations.
Cultivating Membership: CMA expanded physician medical group engagement strategies, which included multiple listening sessions, as well as the annual Group Advocacy Symposium. The Symposium had record attendance and participation from C-suite group leaders throughout the state. CMA also saw increases in membership from community health centers, with great participation from these physicians across our 2023 events.

CMA's Top Issues

From public health to reimbursement to California's looming physician crisis, explore the issues impacting your medical practice.

What Our Members Say

"As a CMA member, I was proud to maintain the integrity of the medical profession. Together with CMA and my specialty society, the scope of practice was protected by our legislation involvement."

Suresh K. Sachdeva, M.D. Pediatric
Member since 1991

"CMA fights the big fights so that physicians can do what we do best – care for our patients. Whether it’s scope of practice, self-governance, or unfair payment practices, CMA is always there to defend our interests."

Douglas Brosnan, M.D.Emergency Medicine
Member since 2003

"I'm proud to be a CMA member because I am afforded the opportunity to be a part of a group that both advocates for other physicians and speaks on behalf of those who don’t feel their voices are heard: our patients."

Jennifer Jackson, M.D. Family Medicine
Member since 2014