I am so proud of all the great work I see being done across this department every day. Your efforts make such a big difference to the community we serve.
And your efforts aren't going unrecognized.
Last month, our Contra Costa Health Plan (CCHP) was recognized by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA), the national evaluator of health insurance plans, as among the best in California for patient experience and the quality of care it provides. CCHP earned high marks among patients for the quality of care from primary care doctors, overall quality of care and preventative care. No other Medi-Cal HMO rated higher!
CCHP's recognition from NCQA is a direct result of the exemplary care and patient support provided by Contra Costa Regional Medical Center (CCRMC) & Health Centers, our Public Health and Behavioral Health divisions, and our partners in the Community Provider Network. Congratulations to CCHP and its provider partners for this well-deserved recognition!
I'd also like to congratulate CCRMC & Health Centers for its recent accolades. In August, Cal Hospital Compare and the California Health & Human Services Agency named CCRMC & Health Centers to its honor roll for its efforts around opioid care. CCRMC earned the Superior Performance Award.
Cal Hospital Compare also placed CCRMC on its maternity honor roll for its reduction of low-risk, first-birth cesarean deliveries below the state's target. This wasn't the first time CCRMC has been recognized for its maternity care. In 2020, Newsweek named CCRMC one of the top hospitals in the nation for maternity care!
Finally, I want to give a hearty shout out to this year's Ruth Pease Award winner. The award is given by the medical staff to a non-physician who exemplifies the dedication of Ruth Pease, a longtime CCH nurse.
This year, the medical staff opted to do something a little different and recognize a whole unit and not just a single person: the perioperative team who prepare patients for surgery. One of the nominating doctors said, "They go to extraordinary lengths to help all of our diverse patients – from the highest risk to the homeless - to ensure the smoothest possible take-off and landing for our patients' operations."
A chapter in Contra Costa County's history, preserved in a time capsule, was opened for the first time since 1964 during a Board of Supervisors meeting on Oct. 4.
The 58-year-old capsule was pulled from the former Administration Building at 651 Pine Street in Martinez and gave us a glimpse into life in Contra Costa in the 1960s.
Among the items buried away were instructions for how to operate a new push button telephone, a newspaper, letters from cities and predictions for the future. These items will be on display at the new Administration Building.
Along with the celebration of opening the capsule, the county put together a new one filled with artifacts and articles from nearly all county departments.
Contra Costa Health (CCH) collected about 75 items to include in the new capsule, highlighting the history and work that we do and have done over the years.
The contents vary: reports and newsletters from different departments, flyers and brochures from our programs, and posters and placards from our buildings.
There are historical items: an architectural drawing from Merrithew Hospital, a poem by African American Health Conductors Program Coordinator Tiombe Mashama, and former Deputy Director Randy Sawyer's pager — which he used during his many decades leading the CCH Hazardous Materials Program. Since the 1990s, all HazMat team members have carried pagers to receive notifications from the Community Warning System about incidents at regulated facilities — and still do!
And perhaps the most poignant sign of the times – COVID vaccines, masks and copies of health orders issued during the pandemic.
I also wrote a letter to the future health director highlighting major milestones, CCH's COVID-19 response, current public health areas of focus and my hopes for the future Contra Costa County.
You can read the full letter here.
The new capsule will be sealed in a concrete vault in the Administration Building, preserving memories not to be opened for 50 years in 2072.
Thanks to all of you for the extraordinary lengths you go to serve our community each and every day. You are appreciated.
Wishing you health and wellness,
Health Director, Contra Costa County
Click here to watch
Last October, the U.S. Department of Education announced a limited-time waiver to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program's rules.
The program aims to encourage public service by cancelling student loan debts after 10 years of employment for a government agency or qualifying nonprofit. But its impact has been limited because of restrictions on what loans qualify for forgiveness.
The waiver could allow student borrowers to count payments from all federal loan programs or repayment plans toward forgiveness, including loan types and payment plans that were not previously eligible.
To qualify under the new temporary rules, eligible workers must consolidate their existing loans and submit an application to the Department of Education by Oct. 31, 2022.
The application only takes about 30 minutes. Find more information here.
Every year, grocery stores, restaurants, hotels and other food generating businesses throw away tons of edible food. According to CalRecyle, more than 6 million tons of food end up in California landfills annually.
While meals go to waste, about 1 in 6 Contra Costans struggle with hunger.
To minimize food waste and address food insecurity, the state passed Senate Bill (SB) 1383 with a goal of reducing greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change. It went into effect this year, requiring Californians to reduce organic waste disposal by 75% and food service businesses to rescue and donate at least 20% of edible food that's currently being disposed of by 2025.
Additionally, the law requires every jurisdiction to provide organic waste collection services to all residents and businesses. Organic waste is not only food scraps, but also yard trimmings, cardboard and paper.
The program will take effect in phases and enforcement in Contra Costa County won't take effect until 2024. Environmental Health will inspect and enforce compliance in the unincorporated areas of the county and is currently in the process of contracting with local cities to do the same.
This helps us save landfill space and lower methane emissions, and is one way we can all play a role in improving health outcomes and the health of our environment.
Here are a few resources to learn more about this new recycling law:
CCRMC Partners with Practice Greenhealth to Advance Sustainability
Contra Costa Health is strongly committed to sustainable health care and managing our environmental impact to create better, safer, greener workplaces and communities.
How we operate today has a real impact on the world tomorrow. That is why Contra Costa Regional Medical Center has become a network partner of Practice Greenhealth, the nation's leading nonprofit organization for health care institutions that have committed to sustainable, environmentally preferable practices.
By joining this organization, we have access to tools, resources and expert knowledge that allow us to move closer to our sustainability goals and continue making a meaningful difference for the planet and our communities.
We are excited about this new collaboration and look forward to strengthening our sustainability efforts.
Contra Costa Health is reminding staff of the upcoming Open Enrollment period for 2023.
- Open Enrollment will begin at 8 a.m. on Monday, October 17, 2022 and end at 5 p.m. on Friday, November 4, 2022.
- The elections you make during this Open Enrollment period are effective for the Plan Year of January 1, 2023 through December 31, 2023.
- Benefits enrollment will be completed online through our PeopleSoft eBenefits system.
- Information will be available on the Employee Benefits website
Health Net Plan Change for 2023
- Traditional Health Net Plan A and Plan B will no longer be offered to any Active group.
- Active Employees who are currently on the Traditional Health Net Plan A or Plan B will be transferred to the corresponding Health Net SmartCare Plan A or Plan B.
- No Action is required by you.
Delta Dental PPO Plan Change for 2023
- An increase in coverage for diagnostic and preventive services from 70% to 100%.
Flexible Spending Account
- Participants in the Health Care Spending Account (HCSA) and Dependent Care Assistance Program (DCAP) must re-enroll each year.
- Health Care Spending Account
- Dependent Care Assistance Program
As always, should you have any questions, please contact the Human Resources Department, Employee Benefits Services at (925) 655-2100 or email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Congratulations to all the Contra Costa Health employees celebrating milestone anniversaries this month. You are an essential part of the work we do.
Thank you for investing in the health and wellness of our communities.