Behavioral Health

About Behavioral Health

An estimated 7.5 million people in California experience a mental health disorder in any given year, but only one-third of adults who experience mental illness are getting treatment due to a lack of behavioral health care workers. Despite major improvements in health care coverage over the past decade, substantial discrepancies persist in available behavioral health care among commercial health plans and public programs. For this reason, many people experiencing mental health crises frequently turn to hospital emergency departments for treatment, and this number is increasing. From 2011 to 2020, there was a 68% increase. Caregivers at hospitals know the obstacles people with behavioral health conditions face and the challenges in getting them treatment and embrace the essential role they play in helping those in crisis. Strategies must mirror those in primary health care where the goal is prevention and early intervention, along with offering a continuum of services that will help Californians with behavioral health needs avoid acute care, hospitalization, incarceration, conservatorships, and institutionalization.  

New Report Shows Disparities in Access to Behavioral Health Care for Employer-Sponsored Health Plans

Mental health care services and addiction treatment are increasingly harder to access and afford, a new study finds. By analyzing claims data across 50 states for hundreds of health insurances plans, researchers discovered that the disparity between mental health and physical health care worsened from 2016 to 2017. According to the report, out-of-network usage for behavioral health care is higher than that for medical and surgical providers, and the gap is growing. More highlights are available in a press release.

VA and TriWest Move Forward on Veterans Community Care Network for California

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has announced resolution of the protest to the contract awarded to TriWest Healthcare Alliance Corp. for Region 4 — including California — of VA’s Community Care Network (CCN). As a result, VA will move forward with implementing CCN Region 4 in partnership with TriWest and will provide an update on the timing in mid-2020.

CHA’s Coyle Discusses Behavioral Health With Governor’s Mental Health Czar

Tom Insel, MD, behavioral health advisor to Gov. Gavin Newsom, recently sat down for a one-on-one conversation with CHA’s President & CEO Carmela Coyle to discuss behavioral health care challenges across California’s 58 counties. The two discussed fundamental impediments to access to care, including lack of capacity, behavioral health care workforce shortages, getting patients the right care in the right setting, and hospitals’ role in caring for patients’ physical and behavioral health care needs.