Eggman Bill Package
As mentioned above, all eight bills co-sponsored by CSAP have passed the Assembly and are now to the Senate for further committee hearings. Even the supposedly most controversial bill – SB 1416, which would alter the definition of grave disability – passed the Senate 37-0. As we have mentioned on other occasions, the Assembly may be a tougher test than the Senate. Below is a recap for all eight bills in the package:
Because of the fragmented mental health system, many different entities are involved in the identification, investigation, treatment, and follow-up when it comes to those experiencing severe mental illness. Data requirements for these various entities are inadequate and SB 929 would address this by requiring the State Department of Health Care Services to collect additional data on the implementation of the Lanterman-Petris-Short Act annually.
Many community members cycle in and out of hospitalizations, shelters, and jails without getting concrete connections to necessary medication and treatment. SB 965 ensures that relevant history can be considered by a court in a uniform manner across the state. Tools focused on acute symptoms are not suited for chronic and severe conditions that many suffer from. This bill will ensure that a complete and accurate picture is presented in court when considering the very serious step of conservatorship.
The Mental Health Services Act has been a vital funding mechanism for community behavioral health services for over 15 years, and we are excited to support the continuous improvement of the Act through SB 970. Though the Act has served as an incredible tool to build up community-based services, we feel that focusing on service outcomes, increased transparency, and frequent progress reports will help improve the service delivery so many communities rely on.
Assisted Outpatient Treatment has long been an effective tool for providing appropriate and intensive outpatient treatment to Californians that have been repeatedly hospitalized or have come into contact with law enforcement due to their serious mental illness. While SB 1035 can be characterized as a clarification, it ensures that there is no ambiguity on the ability to include self-administered medication in a court-ordered treatment plan. Medication may not be a cure-all for the conditions faced by many in our community, but it is a key resource for long-term recovery.
A significant roadblock in our fragmented behavioral health continuum is a lack of care coordination between various provider types and a lack of information about which resources are accessible or available in the community. SB 1154 will address both issues by establishing a database of behavioral health and substance use placements with the ability to collect important data to help assess the capacity of the system.
Current law allows for a gravely disabled person receiving 14 days of intensive treatment to be certified for an additional 30 days. Continuing the goal of most of the bills in this package to reduce the need for additional conservatorships, SB 1227 would allow for a single 30-day extension of the existing option for 30-day intensive treatment. Our hope is that an additional 30 days to recover can reduce the need for a conservatorship.
As is often the case with people struggling with housing issues and homelessness, people frequently cross city and county lines seeking shelter, community, and treatment. SB 1238 would establish a regional planning process to evaluate whether behavioral health services and infrastructure are meeting community needs and identify trends to prepare for the future.
Despite all efforts to reduce the need for conservatorships, they can sometimes be the last resort to provide critical treatment to those who are gravely disabled. These individuals are the hardest to reach and often suffer from anosognosia, a condition that prevents them from being cognitively aware of the severity of their illness. The current definition and interpretation of “gravely disabled” does not accurately include all who it should. SB 1416 would include in this definition a person’s ability to provide for their own personal or medical care, or self-protection and safety, to ensure that those who are truly vulnerable receive the help they need.
For the most recent LPS related bills,see here. For the matrix of all other bills currently tracked by CSAP, see here.
Senator McGuire’s Coordinated Specialty Care Bill Stalls
Unfortunately, SB 1337 (McGuire), the bill to tighten requirements for health plans regarding Coordinated Specialty Services for early psychosis, did not make it out of the Senate Appropriations Committee. The short story here is that the health plans prioritized their opposition to it with Senate leadership. CSAP is discussing next steps with its closest allies and Senate McGuire. Stay tuned for more by the end of June.