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State Health Office Gets New Name and Upgrade

The Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development has a new name, the Department of Health Care Access and Information, that reflects its bigger mission and its upgraded status.

A state entity that’s central to the state’s health data collection and use has been given an expanded mission, an upgraded status and a new name.

The Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD) is officially becoming the Department of Health Care Access and Information (HCAI), and its status is being changed from “office” to “department” to reflect its larger role in state government.

“… OSHPD’s name does not reflect its emerging health policy leadership role and its mission is not clear to the public,” says an OSHPD fact sheet. “A more descriptive name is the Department of Health Care Access and Information (HCAI). The Department’s work is centered on access to health care: to safe health care facilities; to an adequate workforce; to affordable, quality care; to financing for health facilities; and collecting and providing access to important information about health care outcomes, facilities, workforce, and finances.”

The changes became official with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s approval of trailer legislation to the recently enacted state budget.

“The new Department is well-suited to play a key role in providing the data, vision, and programs to develop the health workforce to meet the state’s needs through a robust research and data center, development of workforce policy recommendations, and continued development and administration of its data assets,” the fact sheet states.

The new California Health Workforce Research Data Center “will serve as the state’s central hub of health workforce data with new statutory authority to collect additional workforce data,” the department said Wednesday in a news release.

The changes will result in a strengthening of data programs, consolidation of some smaller programs into the department’s structure, and establishment of a California Health Workforce Education and Training Council, a single point for “guidance on statewide education and health workforce training needs across key areas, including general physician education, primary care and behavioral health,” the fact sheet says.

More details about the recasting of OSHPD are available in a recent online news update.

With its new name and expanded mission, OSHPD/HCAI will remain within the California Health and Human Services Agency.
Dennis Noone is Executive Editor of Industry Insider. He is a career journalist, having worked at small-town newspapers and major metropolitan dailies including USA Today in Washington, D.C.