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.
About Behavioral Health
Many Americans are indicating increased mental health concerns resulting from economic hardship and social isolation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. On Jan. 19, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Office of the Surgeon General — in collaboration with the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention — released The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Implement the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention, a report that outlines the steps for reducing suicide rates and helping improve resilience. Its goal is to broaden perceptions of suicide, who is affected, and the many factors that can affect suicide risk.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has updated its Substance Use Disorder (SUD) Data Book for Congress, as required by the Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment Act. The data book uses 2018 Transformed Medicaid Statistical Information System data.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) California has released its 2020 State of Community Reports for both families and diverse communities. NAMI California engaged families from across the state, compiling both qualitative and quantitative data highlighting the most important issues facing Californians.
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.
On Jan. 11, the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) released Behavioral Health Information Notice No: 21-003 on the implementation of Assembly Bill (AB) 3242, which took effect on Jan. 1.
CHA has issued a detailed summary, prepared by Kirsten Barlow Consulting, of behavioral health issues in the Governor’s fiscal year 2021-22 budget proposal.
CHA was part of a recent call with the California Health & Human Services (HHS) Behavioral Health Secretary, the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS), and County Behavioral Health Directors Association (CBHDA) in which a number of COVID-19-related topics were discussed.
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.
The California Health Facilities Financing Authority (CHFFA) reminds potential applicants that the deadline to apply for the Investment in Mental Health Wellness Grant Program for Children and Youth (Children and Youth Program) second funding round is 5 p.m. (PT) on Jan. 29.
Health Management Associates (HMA) has revamped the AddictionFreeCA.org website to include updated information and resources on substance use disorder, opioid use disorder, and medications for addiction treatment (MAT).