Advocacy Alert: California Governor Signs Peer & Parity Bills

October 8, 2020


by CCAPP: see their announcement.

September 28, 2020:

Senate Bill 803 Peer Support
SB 803 (Beall, D- San Jose) establishes statewide peer support training and certification standards and billing codes for peer support services, allowing counties to draw down millions in federal funding. CCAPP (and BHAP) has supported the effort to establish uniform standards that recognize the important commitments peers contribute to long term recovery from substance use disorder.

“CCAPP will work with the admiration over the next six months, offering our expertise and experience in certifying peers to assist in the implementation of the bill,” said CCAPP President and CEO Pete Nielsen.

The bill does not give the Department of Health Care Services the authority to certify peers directly but does allow it to set standards so that a desired level of skills, competency, and knowledge can be adhered to.

SB 855 SUD/Mental Health Parity

SB 855 (Wiener, D-San Francisco) will increase access to mental health and substance use disorder (MH/SUD) care for the 13.4 million Californians enrolled in state-regulated plans who too often have coverage arbitrarily and wrongfully denied by insurers.

“CCAPP has strongly supported this measure throughout the year and we are beyond excited to see it cross the finish line and become law,” said Nielsen.

Coverage denials based on insurers’ determinations that MH/SUD care is “not medically necessary” are a primary way that insurers limit access to MH/SUD care and undermine the promise of both the federal Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act and the Affordable Care Act. These inappropriate medical necessary denials for needed MH/SUD care frequently limit the treatment patients’ receive to only late-stage crisis care and short-term symptom reduction rather than treatment for the underlying chronic condition. By putting in place common-sense rules that require insurers to follow generally accepted standards of mental health and substance use disorder care, SB 855 will significantly reduce these inappropriate denials and increase access to early treatment that addresses the patient’s underlying condition.

CCAPP will provide input during the regulatory phase of implementing this bill to ensure that automatic step-downs, delays in admission, and erroneous post admission medical necessity decisions are strongly addressed.

Questions? Concerns?

As always, we want your input.

A reminder that BHAP members get regular access to our advocate in Washington, DC. If you have any questions about BHAP’s advocacy efforts, please contact us.

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