This site was designed to facilitate the submission of position letters to committees as bills move through California’s legislative process. The site is still a work in progress and we are striving to provide you and committees with features that streamline the overall position letter process.
Who should use this site? Anyone wishing to submit a position on a California Legislative bill can use this site. Please note we have three categories of registrants:
After completing a one-time registration to obtain a username and password, log in to submit your position letter as a registered lobbyist, organization or individual seeking to communicate your views to the bill author’s staff as well as the committee that will be hearing the bill.
If you want to submit written comments, you will need to create an individual account. Here's info from the FAQ's about leaving comments.
For a list of site FAQs, click here.
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We value your input which will help us further improve the position letter process.
SB 665 would establish the Jail-Based Community Mental Health Innovation Program for up to eight counties, including Orange County, to utilize MHSA Innovation funds to create a pilot program to address the mental health needs of individuals incarcerated in jail, including individuals convicted of felonies. Currently, the use of MHSA funding for individuals who are incarcerated is limited to discharge planning and related services under CCR Title 9 Regulations. In addition, the Act restricts the use of MHSA for individuals in state prisons.
This bill is inconsistent with the MHSA, defunds community resources during COVID-19, and is not an effective policy solution at reducing recidivism. For these reasons we must OPPOSE SB 665 (Umberg)
Client and Leadership Annual Survey
Please, Take Our Annual Survey to Inform Our State of the Community Report
This year we are researching the implementation and effectiveness of Peer Support Services across the state in order to determine if we are utilizing peers to the fullest extent, and to determine if we are collecting meaningful data that supports the evidence-based practice (EBP) of Peer Support. Your knowledge and expertise are essential to this endeavor, and also critical to informing our annual State of the Community Report (SOCR).
State Advocacy 1-2-3 Webinar SeriesThe Peer Action League - PAL State Advocacy 1-2-3 is a series of three webinars on the basics and details of how consumer peers and others can liaison at the State level in a meaningful and consequential manner for a peer-driven transformation of the California behavioral health system. Register for the May 28 webinar,
What is ACCESS?...
Among five other stakeholder groups contracted by the MHSOAC, ACCESS promotes client advocacy across the state in order to ensure services are client-driven from start to finish. ACCESS advocates at the local and state level to promote values of the Recovery Model in mental health services.
ACCESS California is a statewide consumer-led public mental health advocacy program of Cal Voices a continuation of NorCal MHA. ACCESS is funded by the Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission (MHSOAC) through the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA/Prop. 63). Recognizing the statewide client advocacy voice had waned since the passage of the MHSA in 2004, NorCal MHA conceived the ACCESS program in 2016 to elevate and empower the client voice throughout California. In 2017, the MHSOAC formally funded the ACCESS California program specifically to accomplish these goals.
ACCESS California's mission is to strengthen and expand local and statewide client stakeholder advocacy in California's Public Mental Health System through individual and community empowerment. Through our ongoing research, data collection and evaluation, legislative and policy analysis, advocacy, education, training, outreach, and engagement activities, ACCESS implements strategies to elevate the voices, identify the needs, and increase genuine public participation of client stakeholders to drive truly transformative change in the Public Mental Health System.
Peer Voices of California Join Our Peer/Client Advocacy Coalition
To be fully effective, our voices of lived experience must be joined together behind common messages and combined advocacy efforts. When you join the coalition, you will be informed of state-level and local advocacy opportunities, with tips to help you advocate effectively. You will also receive updates to keep you educated about the Mental Health Services Act, changes to Medi-Cal, and legislation that has the potential to impact you. https://www.accesscalifornia.org/peeradvocacycoalition
ACCESS' Community Empowerment Workshop educates clients, peers, advocates, and community stakeholders on key provisions of the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA), including its requirements pertaining to the Community Program Planning Process and meaningful stakeholder involvement in mental health systems development, oversight, and evaluation. This Workshop also teaches attendees how to craft impactful policy statements to deliver at public meetings.
After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the training.
The Southern Community Empowerment Workshop will be taking place on Thursday, June 18th 1-4 pm.
The Los Angeles Community Empowerment Workshop will be taking place on Tuesday, July 7th 1-4 pm.
However, we at ACCESS are working hard to find ways for us to stay connected, and we are committed to implementing new and innovative approaches to continue our important work and advance the Client Voice throughout California.
email email@example.com for more information
ACCESS LEADERSHIP TRAINING
ACCESS' Leadership Training educates participants about their responsibilities under the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA), and teaches them how to effectively implement the MHSA's six General Standards and Community Program Planning Process requirements. Many mental health policy makers have never received a meaningful overview of the MHSA and other applicable mental health laws that apply to their work, the role of committees and bodies in the public mental health system, stakeholder inclusion and accountability, fiscal transparency, or open meeting laws prior to assuming the responsibilities of their positions. Without a deep understanding of the goals and values of the MHSA and the principles upon which public mental health services are founded, they cannot be truly effective in their roles. This training provides agency leaders and other key decision-makers in California's Public Mental Health System a better understanding of their roles and how to effectuate the transformative change and community participation envisioned under the MHSA.
We hold trainings in all 5 regions of California. If you do not live in the Southern Region, you will not be eligible to attend this training, but stay tuned for future trainings in your region!
The Southern MHSA Leadership Training
Wednesday, June 17th 1-4 pm.
(Imperial, Kern, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Tri-Cities, Ventura)
The Los Angeles MHSA Leadership Training Wednesday, July 8th 1-4 pm.
(Los Angeles County Service Areas).
ALL PARTICIPANTS MUST REGISTER IN ADVANCE
SPACE IS LIMITED SO REGISTER NOW WHILE SPACE IS STILL AVAILABLE
Or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Cal Voices - improving the lives of residents in the diverse communities of Northern California through advocacy, education, research, and culturally relevant services.
Cal Voices recognizes that the Mental Health System can be confusing to navigate at times and you might not be able to easily access or locate resources near you. Well we have happily taken care of the hard part and have compiled a list of resources that are avaialble to you. You can click here to access those resources.
(ACCESS is a program of CalVoices)
Since 1949, Mental Health America and our affiliates across the country have led the observance of May is Mental Health Month by reaching millions of people through the media, local events and screenings. We welcome other organizations to join us in spreading the word that mental health is something everyone should care about by using the May is Mental Health Month toolkit materials and conducting awareness activities.
This year's toolkit includes:PDF's and Printable Handouts
Download the 2020 Mental Health Month Toolkit, Here.
• A pneumonia of unknown cause detected in Wuhan, China was first reported to the WHO Country Office in China on 31 December 2019.
• WHO is working 24/7 to analyse data, provide advice, coordinate with partners, help countries prepare, increase supplies and manage expert networks.
• The outbreak was declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on 30 January 2020.
• On 11 February 2020, WHO announced a name for the new coronavirus disease: COVID-19.
• To stay up to date, follow @DrTedros and @WHO on Twitter, read WHO’s daily situation reports and news releases, and watch our regular press conferences. More information about WHO's response in countries can also be found here.
REFERENCE: DHCS COVID-19 Response website
PURPOSE: Provide guidance on concrete steps counties and providers should take to minimize the spread of COVID-19, ensure ongoing access to care, and provide guidance on flexibilities given the Section 1135 waiver granted by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), effective March 15, 2020, and Governor’s Executive Orders N-43-20 and N-55-20.
BACKGROUND: DHCS is issuing guidance to counties and Medi-Cal providers to assist them in providing medically necessary health care services in a timely fashion for patients impacted by COVID-19. DHCS was given authority to grant flexibility for certain requirements through Executive Order (EO) N-43-20 and N-55-20. See DHCS COVID-19 Response website for information notices related other Executive Order flexibilities related to Driving Under the Influence (DUI) Programs, Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) programs, and residential and inpatient mental health treatment facilitie
California Department of Public Health COVID-19 Updates
California is issuing daily updates on COVID-19. To see the most recent update, visit the CDPH News Release page.
CDPH Daily Update Page
Our COVID-19 Issues series will look at how recent actions by the federal government affect California as well as how the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) emergency may affect the state budget more broadly. We will add to the series and update the posts as additional actions are taken and additional information becomes available.
Legislative Analyst Office Report
Supporting California’s behavioral health system
County behavioral health departments and their community allies are responding quickly to changing conditions and to the evolving understanding of COVID-19. Each day requires complex decisions, often with few precedents.
To help provide precise information to specific questions, the Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission is partnering with Social Finance to provide a mechanism for county officials to easily elevate issues, and to be connected to organizations or experts with responsive information or experience.
Conversations with 9 comparison jurisdictions suggests that capacity forecasting for isolation and quarantine units has been largely reactive.
Published: April 2020
Perspectives and resources for California school-based therapists
Published: April 16, 2020
Response to a county behavioral health department as a part of the MHSOAC Rapid Response Network
Published: April 2020
The procedures have been aggregated from various health resources to outline initial response procedures upon presentation of COVID-19 symptoms
Published: April 20, 2020
Among the most critical economic impacts of COVID-19 is maintaining housing
Published: April 10, 2020
Aiming to facilitate connections among jurisdictions facing similar challenges with support from external experts
Published: May 5, 2020
People can spread coronavirus even if they don’t show symptoms. Stay home except for essential needs or permitted activities. If you go out, stay 6 feet away from others and wear a cloth mask.
Blood plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients may be able to help sick people get better faster. If you have recovered from COVID-19, your donation could help—consider donating and find a donation center.
The National Association for Rights Protection and Advocacy (NARPA) urges Washington Governor Jay Inslee to veto SB 5720 The Involuntary Treatment Act, with the exception of Section 103.
This bill, passed by the legislature this year, poses real threats to individuals with psychiatric diagnoses. The bill rolls back rights protections for individuals; and allows involuntary detention under a breathtakingly broad set of circumstances; it also exposes individuals to the harm caused by being detained under conditions that often inflict great trauma, and at the present time, to the dangerous and potentially deadly consequences of the current pandemic, which poses heightened risks in confined institutional settings like psychiatric hospitals. Washington is already ground zero for COVID-19 in the United States and has experienced the deadly risks of its spread within institutional walls. Expanding involuntary institutional confinement, as SB 5720 would do, is a terrible idea.
Learn more ( March 15, 2020)
Principle author Senator Jim Beall, Principal Co-author Assemblymember Marie Waldron, Co-authors Senator Wiener and Senator Wilk Assembly members Aguiar-Curry, Arambula Aguiar-Curry, Grayson, Ramos and Wicks CAMHPRO a co sponsor
Today, ( Jan 8) long-time mental health champion Senator Jim Beall introduced legislation SB 803 to create state certification for mental health care providers known as Peer Support Specialists.
Last year, Senator Beall’s bipartisan effort, SB 10, made it to the Governor’s desk with unanimous votes, where it was vetoed. Sen. Beall is reintroducing this legislative initiative as an effort to make strategic, cost-effective reforms to California’s mental health programs.
“Statewide certification of Peer Support Specialists will ultimately save the state money while improving mental health outcomes. The Governor and I have the same goals- help people and use our resources wisely. SB 803 will improve our system in an ongoing, sustainable way.”
A peer is a person who draws on lived experience with mental illness and/or substance use disorder and recovery, bolstered by specialized training, to deliver valuable support services in a mental health and/or substance use setting. “It is time that peers are validated as an essential and professional part of the behavioral health workforce” asserts Sally Zinman, Executive Director of California Association of Mental Health Peer Run Organizations (CAMHPRO).
The state is facing a shortage of qualified mental health professionals to ensure all Californians receive care. Peer Support Specialists are a much needed addition to the workforce.
Dr. Jonathan Sherin, Director of the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health, emphasized that LA County is ready to take action.
“LA County looks to expand upon and professionalize its peer support programs in a sustainable manner which will not be possible until we secure statewide certification and a reliable reimbursement mechanism. Leveraging lived experience through peer support is critical to the service transformation we need in California. The state must make the most of every resource available to address our mental health crisis; recognizing and resourcing Peer Support Specialists statewide will be a wise investment.”
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and 48 states have a certification process in place or in development for mental health peer support specialists. The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released guidance in 2007 for establishing a certification program for peers to enable the use of federal Medicaid (Medi-Cal in California) financial participation with a 50% match.
Studies show that peers contribute to the ability of people with mental illness and substance abuse to obtain education and employment, contributing to the California economy rather than depending on social safety nets alone.
“Research demonstrates that the utilization of qualified peer support specialists has measurable benefits to clients including reduced hospitalizations, improved functioning, and alleviation of depression and other symptoms. The time has come for California to embrace peer support as an evidence-based model and put in place a certification program that will standardize best practices” stated Maggie Merritt, Executive Director of the Steinberg Institute, a Sacramento-based non-profit mental health public policy institute.
In California, demand for peer services is growing, but there is no statewide scope of practice, training standards, supervision standards, or certification.
“California has an important opportunity to deliver quality, cost-effective, evidence-based mental health services and add diversity to our mental health workforce by certifying Peer Support Specialists,” said Michelle Doty Cabrera, executive director of the County Behavioral Health Directors Association of California (CBHDA).
“While California faces a severe shortage of mental health professionals needed to serve our diverse communities, the specific services delivered by trained, supervised peers have shown to improve client outcomes and reduce costs at the same time. But California can only realize these benefits for our mental health clients in Medi-Cal if we join the 48 states that have already recognized the effectiveness of Peer Support Services through certification.”
SB 803, The Peer Support Specialist Certification Act of 2020 establishes a statewide certification program for peer support specialists and provides the structure needed to maximize the federal match for peer services under Medi-Cal.
The legislation is applauded by a broad and large coalition of supporters, and is sponsored by California Association of Mental Health Peer Run Organizations, County Behavioral Health Directors Association of California, County of Los Angeles Board of Supervisors, and Steinberg Institute.
January 08 2020
PRESS RELEASE: Senator Jim Beall Champions Mental Health Legislation to Certify Peers
Senator Jim Beall introduced legislation SB 803 to create state certification for mental health care providers known as Peer Support Specialists. The Peer Support Specialist Certification Act of 2020 establishes a statewide certification program for peer support specialists and provides the structure needed to maximize the federal match for peer services under Medi-Cal.
GOVERNOR'S VETO MESSAGE
I am returning Senate Bill 10 without my signature.
This bill would require DHCSto establish a new state certification program for mental health and SUDpeer support specialists.Peer support services can play an important role in meeting individuals’behavioral health care needs by pairing those individuals with trained “peers”who offer assistance with navigating local community behavioral health systems and provide needed support. Currently, counties may opt to use peer support services for the delivery of Medicaid specialty mental health services.
As the Administration, in partnership with the Legislature and counties, works to transform the state’s behavioral health care delivery system, we have an opportunity to more comprehensively include peer support services in these transformation plans.
I look forward to working with you on these transformations efforts in the budget process and future legislation, as improving the state of the state’s behavioral health system is a critical priority for me.
This proposal comes with significant costs that should be considered in the budget process
SB 906 vetoed by Gov Brown
SB 214 pulled by peer community
OPPOSITION: (Verified10/1/18)None received
GOVERNOR'S ( Newsom) VETO MESSAGE:
I am returning Senate Bill 906 without my signature.
This bill requires the Department of Health Care Services to establish a certificate program for peer support specialists in Medi-Cal.Currently, peer support specialists are used as providers in Medi-Cal without a state certificate.
This bill imposes a costly new program which will permit some of these individuals to continue providing services but shut others out.
I urge the stakeholders and the department to improve upon the existing framework while allowing all peer support specialists to continue to work
Pulled by sponsors to work on core peer support competencies and ethics for California using SAMHSA template
Consensus effort forums, summit, surveys
Resulting in 17 recommendations
Assembly Bill 46 authored by Assembly member Wendy Carrillo. The bill seeks to clean up and modernize the language in California statutes to lessen the stigmatizing language towards those with mental health disorders.
SB 1322 (Hernandez)
Factsheet Medi-Cal: preventive services: providers.
This proposal would require the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) to maximize available federal funds by adopting Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) regulations to Medi-Cal to reimburse for preventive services provided by professionals that may fall outside of the state’s clinical licensure system as long as the services have been initially recommended by a licensed practitioner.
Specifically, the intent of the bill is to encourage MediCal to utilize Community Health Workers (CHWs), which have been shown to improve care and reduce health care costs.
POLICY COMMENTS . This bill requires health plans and insurers, including self-insured employers and multiemployer
self-insured plans; suppliers; and providers to provide utilization data and pricing information to the CQDB.
While health plans and insurers have access to claims and other data that would allow them to share this information with CQDB, it is not clear that providers and suppliers have this data. Therefore, the Committee may wish to consider amending this bill to clarify what data providers and suppliers are required to report to CQDB.
California Association of Physician Groups
Opposition None on file
Analysis Prepared by : Ben Russell / HEALTH / (916) 319-2097
List of current bills being watched supported and opposed that have an impact on mental health legislation
AB-462 (Thurmond) Support
AB-850 (Chau) Support
AB 1134 (Gloria) Support
SB 143 (Beall) Support
AB 191 ( Wood) Oppose
AB 477 (Ridley-Thomas) Oppose unless amended
AB 720 (Eggman) Oppose
SB 688 (Moorlach) Oppose
AB 451 (Arambula) Watching
AB 488 (Kiley. Coauthors: Gallagher, Lackey, and Steinorth ) Watching
AB 727 (Nazarian ) Watching
AB 860 (Cooley ) Watching working with author
AB 974 (Quirk-Silva) Watching
AB 1119 (Limon) Watching
ACR 8 (assembly concurrent resolution)
(Jones-Sawyer) Watching Working with author
SB 192 (Beall) watching
SB 209 (Cannella ) Watching
SB 565 (Portantino) WATCHING VERY CLOSELY (*Author entertaining thoughts to amend bill to relinquish patient consent.)