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.

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.

Labor Department Provides Resources on Mental Health Parity Laws

The U.S. Department of Labor has released a series of documents designed to help stakeholders understand the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA) of 2008, the 21st Century Cures Act, the SUPPORT for Patient and Communities Act, and the Employee Retirement Income Security Act. The documents, which provide examples and illustrations of how the laws work, include FAQs about mental health and substance use disorder parity implementation and the 21st Century Cures Act, and an MHPAEA disclosure template and enforcement fact sheet.

Mental Health Resources Available for Families of First Responders

The Substances Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has released a series of fact sheets for the families of first responders, intended to help them understand and cope with the potential mental health issues that emergency personnel may face, and to help children understand their parents’ role at work.