Taking advantage of lessening pandemic concerns, the APA Assembly Area 6 Council met in-person in Marina del Rey on April 1, 2023, gaveled by Lawrence Malak, MD, the APA Assembly Area 6 Representative with Deputy Representative Anish Dube, MD. By invitation of the Council, CSAP was present as the APA Area 6 State Association to provide a focused update of state legislative activity and participate in discussions about potential opportunities for further coordination of statewide APA psychiatric advocacy.
CSAP Board member Rod Shaner, as designated by Board Chair Takeo Toyoshima, presented a brief overview of CSAP positions on key legislative bills, including SB 43 (Eggman), a CSAP co-sponsored bill that which, if enacted, will reshape the LPS definition of grave disability to better protect access to treatment for even those with severe psychiatric illness. CSAP-supported bills that clarify and expand the responsibilities of general hospital emergency departments to provide emergency behavioral health assessment (SB 65 [Ochoa Bogh], AB 1001 [Haney]) were discussed as well. Also noted were other bills concerning such key issues as insurance parity and regulation behavioral health systems and practices. The CSAP legislative report was deeply informed by the work of Paul Yoder, CSAP’s lead advocate at SYASL.
At the meeting, Area 6 Council members also discussed–in some depth–the potential opportunities for further coordination of statewide psychiatric advocacy. Their consensus was that CSAP’s intent to invite the Area 6 Assembly Representative (or designee) and the Area 6 Trustee to all regularly scheduled CSAP Board meetings would be useful for strengthening state advocacy effectiveness, as would be future invitations by the Area 6 Council to the CSAP board chair and to lead advocate Paul Yoder.
Members of both CSAP and the Area 6 Council, perhaps influenced by the joy of once again working and relaxing with colleagues in person over a couple of days, expressed optimism about growing partnerships to strengthen the membership-directed statewide voice of advocacy by APA psychiatrists in California.