L.A. Care Featured Prominently at the 2020 Southern California State of Reform Conference

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Tuesday, December 8, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic further exposed long-standing health inequities across the country, with people of color disproportionately affected – both in the number of cases and deaths. The 2020 Southern California State of Reform Virtual Health Policy Conference, being held on December 8, will focus on the health sector’s role in dealing with racism and health equity.

The conference gathers senior health care executives and health policy leaders from across the sectors that make up California’s health care system. This year, L.A. Care CEO John Baackes and L.A. Care Medical Director for Quality James Kyle, MD, will participate on panels that address health equity and disparities.

Baackes will be among the panelists in the afternoon keynote titled A Focus on Racism and Health Equity. Panelists will discuss how disparities highlight the work left to do to create an equitable health system. Over the summer, while social justice protests were filling streets across the country, and the pandemic was continuing to take a tragic toll on families, Baackes worked with the L.A. Care Board of Governors to adopt a Statement of Principles on Social Justice and Systemic Racism, which denounced racism and discrimination in any form. The statement also committed to taking a number of concrete steps, including continuing advocacy work for social justice and creating an Equity Council to work on equity issues related to L.A. Care employees, members, providers, and vendors.

Dr. Kyle leads L.A. Care’s new Equity Council. He will participate in a morning State of Reform panel titled Racism as a Public Health Issue. This panel will discuss what racism looks like in California health care, and how race continues to be a factor in the experience our community has when they engage with the institutions meant to keep them well. As the lead on the L.A. Care Equity Council, Dr. Kyle has helped organize two COVID-19 Disparities Leadership Summits. Dr. Kyle will discuss how the summits led to L.A. Care’s Equity and Resilience Initiative, which offers financial support to community organizations that are addressing social, health, economic and justice issues.

Joining Baackes for the afternoon keynote are Kristen Cerf, President and CEO of Blue Shield of California Promise Health Plan, and Elaine Batchlor, MD, MPH, CEO of Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Hospital.  Joining Kyle for the morning panel are California Assemblyman Rob Bonta, Member of the Assembly Health Committee, and Deborah Prothrow-Stith, Dean of the College of Medicine, Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science.

This virtual conference will pull together practitioners, thought leaders, and policy makers – each working to improve our health care system in their own way. The event will also feature thought leaders from across the state, which means it will be a uniquely California conversation.


About L.A. Care Health Plan

L.A. Care Health Plan serves more than 2.2 million members in Los Angeles County, making it the largest publicly operated health plan in the country. L.A. Care offers four health coverage plans including Medi-Cal, L.A. Care Covered™, L.A. Care Cal MediConnect Plan and the PASC-SEIU Homecare Workers Health Care Plan, all dedicated to being accountable and responsive to members. As a public entity, L.A. Care’s mission is to provide access to quality health care for L.A. County's low-income communities, and to support the safety net required to achieve that purpose. L.A. Care prioritizes quality, access and inclusion, elevating health care for all of L.A. County. For more information, follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.


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Penny Griego Media Relations Specialist
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