State News

Medical Board – Opioid Prescribing Guidelines

MBC recently published a long-awaited update to its opioid prescribing guidelines, which will make it easier for patients to get the care they need while maintaining appropriate safeguards. Importantly, the medical board has clarified that the guidelines are not intended to replace a physician’s clinical judgment and individualized, patient-centered decision-making.

DHCS Announces Children and Youth Behavioral Health Initiative Funding Opportunities

The Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) has announced the following funding opportunities under the Children and Youth Behavioral Health Initiative (CYBHI): CYBHI Round 3 Early Childhood Wraparound Services Request for Application (RFA): On August 7, 2023, DHCS released a RFA seeking proposals from various individuals, organizations, and agencies (including but not limited to counties, county behavioral health and public health departments) for the third round of grant funding, totaling $60 million, to scale evidence-based practices and community-defined evidence practices (EBP/CDEP) for early childhood wraparound services. Applications are due by October 6, 2023, at 5:00 p.m. For more information, please visit the EBP/CDEP Grants webpage

DHCS Initiates 30-Day Public Comment Period for BH-CONNECT and CalAIM Transitional Rent Services 

On August 1, the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) began a 30-day public comment period soliciting feedback on a new Section 1115 demonstration request, entitled the California Behavioral Health Community-Based Organized Networks of Equitable Care and Treatment (BH-CONNECT) demonstration. DHCS also initiated a 30-day public comment period soliciting feedback on a proposed amendment to the California Advancing and Innovating Medi-Cal (CalAIM) Section 1115 demonstration related to transitional rent services. The public comment period for both applications is through August 31, 2023. Background information, links to public comment materials, and information about how to provide feedback can be found on the DHCS BH-CONNECT webpage and DHCS CalAIM 1115 Demonstration webpage

Volunteer Needed for DMHC’s TGI Working Group

SB 923 (Wiener) established the Transgender, Gender Diverse, or Intersex (TGI) Health Care Quality Standards and Training Curriculum Working Group, which the Department of Managed Health Care is staffing. The purpose of the Working Group is to develop a quality standard for patient experience to measure cultural competency related to the TGI community and recommend a trans-inclusive training curriculum to be used by health care plan staff who are in direct contact with enrollees in the delivery of health care services. DMHC is putting together a provider panel for an upcoming TGI Working Group meeting to discuss patient experience and quality standards for the TGI Community. they have a physician on the working group and the facilitator is an MFT, but would like to hear more input from a behavioral health clinician on what the experience of individuals who identify as TGI is like and what can be captured for a training curriculum/quality standard. We’d like to have 2-3 clinicians total offer testimony about their work with the TGI community and be available to answer questions from the working group. They would really like to include a CSAP psychiatrist on the panel. The working group will meet on September 19th from 1-4 pm at the DMHC’s offices in downtown Sacramento. They can also accommodate a speaker via Zoom. They estimate the provider panel would begin at 2 pm (but can be a little flexible here) and would last for one hour.

Medi-Cal Enhanced Care Management 

Dept. of Health Care Services released “Medi-Cal Enhanced Care Management and Community Supports Year One Report: Data on Implementation in Calendar Year 2022,” which finds 109,004 Medi-Cal members received the Enhanced Care Management benefit which provides “high-touch, person-centered care management” to members “with the most complex medical and social needs,” and 36,391 members received 80,859 Community Supports services which “help members address their health-related social needs;” also finds “more than 40% of members who received Community Supports received housing transition navigation services that helped them find, secure, and maintain stable housing” and “more than half of Medi-Cal members enrolled in ECM in 2022 were individuals who were at risk of avoidable hospital or emergency department visits.” Contact:


BH-CONNECT is the proposed new Medicaid demonstration project under Section 1115 of the Social Security Act to expand access to and strengthen the continuum of community-based behavioral health services for Medi-Cal members living with serious mental illness (SMI) and serious emotional disturbance (SED). DHCS is requesting Section 1115 demonstration expenditure and waiver authorities to operate a discrete set of activities that generally cannot be covered under Medi-Cal State Plan authorities. Key features include a workforce initiative, activity stipends, cross-sector incentive program for children involved in child welfare, statewide incentive program, incentive program for opt-in counties, transitional rent services, and short-term residential and inpatient psychiatric stays in institutions for mental diseases (IMD). The proposed BH-CONNECT Section 1115 application can be found here.

CalAIM Transitional Rent Services

To improve the well-being and health outcomes of Medi-Cal members during critical transitions or who meet high-risk criteria, DHCS is seeking an amendment to the CalAIM Section 1115 demonstration to provide up to six months of transitional rent services to eligible individuals who are homeless or at risk of homelessness and transitioning out of institutional levels of care, congregate residential settings, correctional facilities, the child welfare system, recuperative care facilities, short-term post-hospitalization housing, transitional housing, homeless shelters or interim housing, as well as those who meet the criteria for unsheltered homelessness or for a Full-Service Partnership (FSP) program. Transitional rent services will be voluntary for Medi-Cal managed care plans to offer and for Medi-Cal members to use. The proposed CalAIM Section 1115 Transitional Rent Services Amendment application can be found here. DHCS will be hosting two public hearings on Friday, August 11, and Thursday, August 24, to solicit stakeholder comments. The public hearings will take place in person and have online video streaming and telephonic conference capabilities to ensure accessibility. Information for zoom registration and call-in details can be found here.

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