CPA Acts to Ensure Quality Mental health Policies
UPDATED, JANUARY, 2018
CPA Pitches in to Help on the Opioid Crisis. AB 186 (Eggman) provides authority for local jurisdictions to open safe injection sites. CPA helped lead the effort to gain the necessary votes in the Senate, which unfortunately fell short by two votes. This bill will be back in 2018.
CPA Leads Efforts for Better Enforcement of Mental Health Insurance Parity Laws. CPA at the invitation of the California Insurance Commissioner, Dave Jones, sponsored legislation (SB 374, Newman) to assure maximum enforcement power for the California Department of Insurance under the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008. SB 374 passed out of both houses of the legislature without a single NO vote being cast against it and was signed into law by the Governor.
CPA Promotes Implementation of Laura’s Law. CPA has assisted local elected officials, psychiatrists and other advocates to pass Laura’s Law resolutions in nineteen counties. Laura’s Law provides court supervised intensive treatment for individuals who are repeatedly hospitalized or arrested or commit acts of grave bodily harm, who most often don’t’ realize they are sick, and therefor do not take their medications or see their psychiatrists because “I’m not sick.”
CPA Joins with California Medical Association in Submitting Friend of the Court Briefs in Cases which could weaken the psychotherapist patient privilege. CPA and CMA submitted joint briefs in the Gerner, Cross, and Lewis cases. At issue in each was the
contention by the Medical Board of California that it was entitled to access psychiatric patient information in its investigations of complaints against a physician, even when the patient objected. CPA and CMA argued that the privilege for confidential patient information of a psychiatric nature required patient consent to divulge. Unfortunately, the MBC was able to nullify the Gerner case precedent, and the decisions in both Cross and Lewis were bad decisions which did not recognize the California legislatures intent to allow release of information only when the patient consents, or does not object. Legislative remedies are contemplated by the CPA to clarify that the psychotherapist privilege applies to MBC investigations.
CPA Leads Coalition to Engage Regulators to Reduce Reimbursement Discrimination for Mental Health Treatment and Psychiatric Beds. The federal Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, specifically calls out reimbursement differentials between mental health and health service providers as possible prohibited forms of discrimination. The CPA is working with California regulators to establish guidelines so that they can measure and enforce this portion of MHPAEA.
CPA Sponsored Legislation Provides Pathway for Inmate Medications (AB 720, Eggman). Sentenced inmates with a mental illness - inmates in both jails and prisons - and patients in the community access medications when they refuse medications and are dangerous or gravely disabled through due process procedures. AB 720 has been signed by the Governor and will allow medication of pre-trial inmates who currently lack these kinds of options.