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Volume 2, Issue 42 - October 21, 2022

Electroconvulsive Therapy - Himes v. Somatics LLC

Himes v. Somatics, LLC is a case that involves electroconvulsive therapy. The plaintiffs sued Somatics, LLC, the manufacturer of the Thymatron ECT machine, alleging a failure to provide adequate warnings of the dangers of ECT. The district court granted summary judgment because there was no evidence that stronger warnings would have affected the physicians’ decision to prescribe ECT.  The Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit certified a question of California state law to the California Supreme Court regarding the applicable standard of causation – in particular, whether a plaintiff can prevail by showing that her physician would have communicated the stronger risk warnings and that a prudent person in the plaintiff’s position would have declined the treatment. Counsel for Somatics has asked the American Psychiatric Association (APA) to file an amicus brief in the California Supreme Court explaining the legitimate clinical use of ECT.  Although the question before the California court does not directly implicate that issue, plaintiffs’ brief provides what many consider to be a distorted picture of the risks and benefits of ECT. The California Medical Association (CMA) has reviewed the documents in this case and has shown interest in writing an amicus brief. CSAP will be tracking developments on this very closely and keeping you apprised at critical junctures.
Attorney General Bonta Announces the Seizure of Millions of Fentanyl Pills

This week, Attorney General Bonta provided an update on the California Department of Justice’s (DOJ) ongoing work to address the fentanyl crisis, "including the seizure of over 4 million fentanyl pills and almost 900 pounds of fentanyl powder, and over 200 arrests through the DOJ’s Bureau of Investigation and work with allied task forces throughout California since April 2021. DOJ continues this work through the Fentanyl Enforcement Program, a statewide enforcement initiative designed to detect, deter, disrupt, and dismantle criminal fentanyl operations and prevent fentanyl from reaching California neighborhoods and communities. In addition to this on-the-ground work, Attorney General Bonta continues an all-in approach to hold the opioid industry accountable for their role in creating the opioid crisis and its impacts. To date, the California Department of Justice has secured over $32 billion through nationwide settlements, including $2 billion for California, bringing needed funding back to communities for treatment and prevention strategies." Read more here
Biden Administration Seeks to Expand 24/7 Mental Health Care

The federal government wants to expand all-hours mental health and substance abuse care in communities around the country

“Today we’re talking about providing to Americans 24/7 support for crisis care,” Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said. “That’s something that’s only been available to some, in some places. But depending on your income and ZIP code, you could be totally out of luck. That’s going to start to change.” Read more here.

CARE Court  

SB 1338 Reader Guide 

The Urban Counties of California (UCC) is a coalition of the largest counties in California. The UCC just produced a Reader’s Guide to SB 1338, which you can review here. The State has yet to convene Cohort 1 counties to discuss next steps. SYASL will participate in Cohort 1 meetings when they are eventually convened, most likely towards the end of November.

Santa Clara Town Hall

For members in Santa Clara County and surrounding areas, Senator Cortese will host a
 virtual Town Hall on Thursday, November 3rd at 6:00 p.m. with the focus of: "CARE Court: A State Initiative to Address our Mental Health Crisis". Judge Steven Manley will also be participating. For more information, see here

Governor Newsom's Promise of Universal Access to Health Care

This week, Governor Newsom and the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) announced that roughly 286,000 older adult Californians are receiving full-scope Medi-Cal due to the expansion of comprehensive preventive care and other services to all income-eligible adults 50 years of age and older, regardless of immigration status. This follows Governor Newsom’s action in July 2021 to enact this expansion in collaboration with Senator Durazo and Assemblymember Arambula in the 2021-22 state budgetThis latest expansion of Medi-Cal coverage brings California closer to Governor Newsom’s promise of universal access to health care coverage, regardless of age or immigration status. Does this put "Single Payer" to rest in California, at least for the time being? SYASL continues to believe that it does. Read more here

Homelessness Opportunities, Accountability, and Governance 

On October 12, the Assembly Budget Subcommittee on State Administration held an informational hearing: Homelessness Opportunities, Accountability and Governance. This hearing is just one in a series of hearings on how local jurisdictions are using Homeless Housing, the Assistance and Prevention (HHAP) program and other funding. We have included Hearing materials and SYASL staff notes below. You can expect legislation in 2023 as a consequence of these hearings - with state funds running below projections (the current estimated state budget shortfall is at least $7 billion), the Legislature and the Governor will want more metrics from the counties to prove that billions of dollars have been spent wisely.

HSH Panel 2 Slides - Overview on Homelessness and HRS
HSH Panel 3 Slides - Homekey and HHAP
Santa Clara County Slides - HHAP and Homekey
San Mateo County Slides - Homelessness
SYASL Staff Notes 


California's Master Plan for Aging

The Assembly Committee on Aging and Long-Term Care held an informational hearing this week: The Master Plan for Aging: Caregiving That Works. The Committee discussed the Governor's Mater Plan for Aging, women, aging and equity, the role of the unpaid caregiver, and the future needs of the caregiving workforce. You may view the agenda here, and SYASL staff notes here

Allied Healthcare Loan Repayment Program - Application Deadline Approaching 

The Allied Healthcare Loan Repayment Program (AHLRP) application deadline is approaching!
AHLRP is a program funded by the County Medical Services Program (CMSP) and administered by the Department of Healthcare Access and Information. Under this program, Allied Healthcare Professionals may receive up to $16,000 in educational debt relief in exchange for one-year of service at a CMSP-contracted provider site. View this flyer or visit Allied Healthcare Loan Repayment Program
 to learn more and apply.
Applications must be submitted by October 31st, 2022, at 3PM PST.  


APA / Federal Update 

Announcement of Final Slate - 2023 APA Election

The APA Nominating Committee, chaired by Vivian Pender, M.D., reports the following slate of candidates (in alphabetical order) for the 2023 Election. This slate has been approved by the Board of Trustees and is considered official. The deadline for petition candidates is November 10, 2022.  All candidates and supporters should review the updated Election Guidelines. For more election information, please visit the Election section under the Board of Trustees on the APA website or email
Robert L. Trestman, PhD, MD
Ramaswamy Viswanathan, MD, DrMedSc
Jenny L. Boyer, MD, PhD, JD
C. Freeman, MD, MBA
Gabrielle L. Shapiro, MD
Kamalika Roy, MD
Dora-Linda Wang, MD
Kenneth B. Ashley, MD
Glenn A. Martin, MD
Heather Hauck, MD
Sudhakar Madakasira, MD
Sarah El Halabi, MD, MS
Sarah A. Friedrich, DO, MBA, MS
Sarin Pakhdikian, DO
Please feel free to contact Monique E.M. Morman, CMP, Director of Association Governance
( or Chiharu Tobita at Association Governance ( if you have any questions regarding the upcoming election.

Department of Health Care Services Registration Portal for COVID-19 Worker Retention Payments Now Open

The Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) released instructions last month to assist Covered Entities, Covered Service Employers (CEs/CSEs), and independent physicians or physicians who are part of a Physician Group Entities (PGEs) registration and application process to participate in Worker Retention Payments (WRP). Covered Entities (CEs), Covered Services Employers (CSEs), and Physician Group Entities (PGEs) are required to register with the DHCS to participate in Hospital and Skilled Nursing Facility COVID-19 Worker Retention Payments. Once registered, CEs, CSEs, and PGEs will be approved to apply for retention payments on behalf of eligible workers.

While the deadline for completing the registration form is December 21, 2022, CEs, CSEs, and PGEs are encouraged to complete the registration form soon after it is available to minimize delays in registration approval. For more information, see here

Children and Youth Behavioral Health Initiative 

The California Health & Human Services Agency (CalHHS), in partnership with its departments, held a webinar this week on the Children and Youth Behavioral Health Initiative (CYBHI). The webinar provided information on the Master Plan for Kids’ Mental Health and its connection with CYBHI; developments in stakeholder engagement and how feedback is being integrated into CYBHI’s work; and updates on the progress, work-to-date and upcoming next steps of the initiative and its workstreams. You may view SYASL Staff notes from the event here. You may also visit the CYBHI webpage for more information.  

Worth a Read

CSAP is a cooperative effort between the Central California Psychiatric Society, the Northern California Psychiatric Society, the Orange County Psychiatric Society, the San Diego Psychiatric Society, and the Southern California Psychiatric Society.

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