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. The caregivers at hospitals know the obstacles people with behavioral health conditions face and the challenges in getting them the treatment they need. While hospitals embrace the essential role they play in addressing this crisis, more needs to be done. Solutions like payment reform, resource allocation, more outpatient and community-based services, a bolstered behavioral health workforce, and a statewide set of standardized core services will help Californians with behavioral health conditions access the care they deserve.

HHS Expands Access to Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has eliminated the X-waiver for physicians, meaning that physicians can prescribe buprenorphine without taking an eight-hour course and without obtaining a waiver from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.  

DMHC Issues All Plan Letter on Compliance with Mental Health and Substance Use Parity Law

On Jan. 5, the Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) issued All Plan Letter (APL) 21-002 to all commercial full-service health plans and specialized health plans offering behavioral health services that are regulated by the department. The guidance is designed to ensure health plans comply with amendments made to Senate Bill (SB) 855 (Wiener, D-San Francisco), the mental health and substance use parity law that took effect on Jan. 1.   

Mental Health Commission Launches New Dashboards

The Mental Health Services Oversight & Accountability Commission has announced the launch of five new dashboards on its Transparency Suite to support learning communities to drive program improvement. The dashboards will also inform community planning by improving public access to information on mental health services and outcomes.  

National Suicide Hotline Bill Signed into Law

On Oct. 17, President Trump signed the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act into law, designating 988 as the nationwide three-digit phone number to connect people experiencing mental health crises to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.