Our Better Valley Health Coalition presented our findings publicly for the first time in Fresno. Members spoke up for fairness and partnership at the San Joaquin Valley Insurance Authority (SJVIA) meeting in Fresno and laid out the case for working together.
Debra Perez, a Social Worker III with Fresno County opened the public comment by telling the board, “We have answers and expertise. We are willing to partner with you. Bring us to the table.”
The coalition attended the meeting on March 18 to address structural issues with SJVIA that, if unchecked, could send the plan into a downward spiral.
At different points during the meeting, the board acknowledged that workers had been pointing out the structural issues with SJVIA for almost a year and warning that we could be facing this exact scenario. Given that we predicted the current crisis, the board seems receptive but not yet welcoming. We need more workers involved actively protecting our health and getting involved in the broader health issues associated with life in the Central Valley.
Even Aon, the company called in to review SJVIA, acknowledged that the plan had serious issues. They described the plan as having aggressive renewals taking blind risks with no money in the bank—and no margin for error.
Perez also rightly admonished the board for not connecting the service from SJVIA to the workers and public services. “The critical public services our members provide are diminished when they don’t have access to reliable, affordable healthcare. This is not something anyone would dispute. Even this level of uncertainty is going to take a toll on the services that our agencies provide.”
At the meeting we presented a document with our guiding principles and some preliminary highlights from our healthcare survey that has collected more than 200 responses from public workers covered by SJVIA health plan. The document is available here. If you haven’t yet completed the survey, you can find it online here.
Let’s get #BetterValleyHealth for our communities.