Behavioral Health

About Behavioral Health

California has a behavioral health care crisis, as more Californians need care, and there are not enough providers to deliver that care. As a last resort, those facing a mental health crisis turn to hospital emergency departments. The number of people going to an emergency department for mental health needs jumped 68% from 2010 to 2020; for children 12 to 17 that number climbed 31%. Creating a behavioral health care system means making access easier and more equitable, while ensuring patients receive care in the most appropriate setting.

House Passes First Package to Fund Federal Government, Includes Health Provisions

What’s happening: The U.S. House passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2024, which will fund a portion of the federal government through the end of the fiscal year. The package includes a group of CHA-supported health care provisions important to hospitals.  

What else to know: Congress has until March 22 to pass a second package to fund the rest of the federal government, including the Department of Health and Human Services.  

CHA Fact Sheets Show New Behavioral Health Facilities Being Built

What’s happening: To help CHA members learn about new behavioral health facilities being constructed in communities around the state, CHA has created an online document that displays the funds awarded to build various types of facilities by county.  

What else to know: Close to $2 billion in state funds have been distributed throughout California during the past two years to build new behavioral health treatment locations that will serve Medi-Cal beneficiaries.  

Medicare Coverage for Behavioral Health Expanded

What’s happening: The Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) announced that Medicare will cover visits with mental health counselors, addiction counselors, and marriage and family therapists, effective since Jan. 1. 

What else to know: The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will conduct both routine and focused program audits of Medicare Advantage (MA) organizations in 2024 to assess compliance with new requirements. 

CHA Advocacy Materials on Key Issues Available  

What’s happening: CHA has released advocacy materials — infographics, key messages, and issue briefs — for a suite of priority issues for 2024.  

What else to know: Infographics offer a quick view for people in a hurry (e.g., lawmakers) while issue briefs provide a deeper dive for those who want more information (e.g., staffers). Both are ideal leave-behinds. Key messages are for use in developing talking points or presentations, or for general information.   

CHA Analysis Reveals How Insurer Practices Impede Patient Care

What’s happening: CHA developed a detailed analysis of how insurance company practices negatively affect patients, which is a key proof point supporting a comprehensive strategy to hold insurers accountable for patient care in California. 
 
What else to know: One of CHA’s priorities this year is to create greater accountability (network adequacy, prior authorization, medical necessity, payment practices, and parity) for insurers operating in California.  

CMS Announces New Payment Model Targeting Behavioral Health

What’s happening: The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced a new Innovation in Behavioral Health (IBH) Model on Jan. 18.  

What else to know: The Notice of Funding Opportunity will open in spring 2024, and up to eight states will be selected to participate.