Volume 2, Issue 41 - October 14, 2022
What is a Violation of the MHPAEA? - More Follow Up to CSAP Webinar
As a result of CSAP's recent webinar with staff from the Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC), CSAP members have been having extensive dialogue with DMHC staff. Recently, one member elevated the issue of the recent Blue Cross requirement for billing that has led to hundreds if not thousands of denials for care. Blue Shield has recently demanded that documentation include the start and stop time of psychotherapy services including when performed as an add-on to E&M (medication management visits). DMHC has reached out to their Behavioral Health Investigation Team, and they will interview the concerned psychiatrists on this topic (and other barriers in general) for the current Anthem Blue Cross investigation. DMHC would also like to determine if there is a violation of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act. You may read more regarding MHPAEA violations here. CSAP understands how difficult billing issues are for many of you, SYASL and its lobbyists do too. Please continue to share issues you are confronting with Paul Yoder at SYASL. This unfortunately won't get solved overnight, but CSAP is determined to do as much as it can working with the DMHC and Department of Insurance to make parity more real in California.
CSAP and the LA Times
CSAP has initiated a dialogue with reporters at the Los Angeles Times as part of an ongoing press outreach effort. The idea here is that, by and large, reporters should ideally be talking to psychiatrists about psychiatry and mental health care in California. CSAP is hopeful that, soon, the LAT will invite CSAP members to a focus group of sorts with reporters to talk about the mental health system in California and its issues. Stay tuned!
World Mental Health Day
In her most recent California Fiscal Focus Special Edition, State Controller Betty Yee shared that in her close to eight years of service, her office has benefited from the talent and perspectives of student interns who have had the opportunity to support her policy deputies. Through this work, she met Sarah Yee (no relation), a high school junior who is an aspiring journalist. While speaking about some of the State's issues and challenges on which they shared mutual concern, Sarah identified a topic that has gained increasing importance with the CalPERS Board of Administration - mental health! Aware of this, Sarah spoke about the unaddressed mental health challenges among youth, especially relating to her and her peers in the Asian American and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander communities, the high rates of suicide among these youth, and the loss of their full societal and economic potential. Sarah wrote a feature article highlighting this growing mental health crisis, to help increase awareness. With permission, Controller Yee has shared Sarah's article.
"No one ever explicitly told me not to talk about my mental health, but the omission was enough. 2020 taught me how to treat this wound for the first time—by pouring a little alcohol on it, caustic and cool to the skin. I took this treatment to heart, particularly when the anti-Asian hate waves began flooding the headlines. I tried not to be as caustic as the alcohol I had poured over my wounds but I couldn’t stop questioning: Why now, when our community is being verbally and physically harassed, are Asian Americans finally being recognized? Why must we reach a point past hurt in order to even recognize a need to heal?"
Medical Board of California Annual Report
The Medical Board of California (Board) has released its 2021-22 Annual report. The Board is comprised of fifteen members: eight physician members and five public members appointed by the Governor, one public member appointed by the Speaker of the Assembly, and one public member appointed by the Senate Rules Committee. The Board has seven standing committees, seven task forces, two disciplinary panels, and the Midwifery Advisory Council that assist with the work of the Board. During FY 2021-2022, the Board also focused on multiple legislative proposals intended to strengthen its ability to protect California healthcare consumers. The Board also focused on internal process improvements that streamline and improve its critical licensing and enforcement functions. You may view the Annual Report here.
Call for National Emergency in Children's Mental Health
A large coalition of children's mental health advocacy organizations has sent a letter to President Biden urging him to declare a National Emergency for children's mental health that requires all sectors to come together and take action.
"On behalf of the undersigned 134 national and state organizations who are dedicated to the mental health and well-being of infants, children, adolescents, and young adults, we write to thank you for the attention you and your administration have given to the youth mental health crisis in the U.S. This month marks the one-year anniversary of the declaration of a National State of Emergency in Children’s Mental Health issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and the Children’s Hospital Association. While much has been done by the federal government to address the crisis, the mental health of our nation’s youth continues to deteriorate. We urge you to treat the youth mental health crisis as the national emergency it continues to be and declare a federal National Emergency in children’s mental health." You may read more here.
Fall In-Person Advocacy Collaboration Conference
California Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Children Now and National Alliance on Mental Illness California will host an Annual Fall Advocacy and Collaboration Conference and invite attendees to:
The conference is FREE to attend, and they are offering a $500 reimbursement stipend to medical students, residents, and fellows. Register here.
- Learn about current legislative issues in California
- Develop relationships with partnering organizations
- Help build the 2022-2023 legislative cycle agenda
- Help build the 2023-2024 legislative priorities for children's mental health
- Recognize the CALACAP Children's Hero Award recipient
APA / Federal Update
Participate in APA’s Maternal Mental Health Initiative - Registration Deadline Extended
DB/SA Presidents and Executive Directors are invited to partner with the American Psychiatric Association (APA) on an initiative funded by the CDC Foundation.
Untreated perinatal mental illness is associated with high-risk pregnancy and harmful outcomes threatening the well-being of the mother and the baby. Pregnant persons often do not receive adequate mental health care, and mental health practitioners receive little or no training.
To address these training and knowledge gaps, it is important to understand providers’ perspectives and pregnant persons with mental health issues during and after pregnancy. The APA has been awarded a grant from CDC Foundation to conduct a “needs assessment” of these gaps.
The initiative is informed by a 20-member advisory panel that comprises representatives from the American Psychiatric Association, American Psychological Association, American Association of Nurse Practitioners, American Counseling Association, and National Association of Social Workers. The panel advises on all aspects of the project, including refinement of the survey instrument and questions for the focus group, and reviews the development of the project deliverables.
As a first step, we want to conduct one survey and two groups with mental health providers who treat pregnant persons. Interested providers can register themselves at the link below. Selected participants will receive a personalized link to the survey and an invitation to participate in the focus group.
Members may register thru October to be considered for participation. Please contact MaternalMH@psych.org with any questions.
- The focus group (2 hours) and the survey (25-45 minutes) will be conducted starting in September
- The focus group will be conducted virtually and will include up to 16 participants
- We seek 400 providers to participate in the survey
- Focus group participants will receive a $450 honorarium after completing the 2-hour session
- Survey participants will receive a $30 Amazon gift card upon completing the survey
Behavioral Health Continuum Infrastructure Program
The Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) has released the Behavioral Health Continuum Infrastructure Program Round 5: Crisis and Behavioral Health Continuum Grant Program Update ahead of opening the request for application later this month. This round will fund $480 million in projects that will serve to expand infrastructure capacity for crisis and/or behavioral health continuum facility projects. Eligible applicants may include counties, cities, tribal entities, and nonprofit and for-profit organizations, whose projects reflect the state’s priorities. For more information, see here. This is one big way that California can expand the number of available beds, please forward this to the appropriate person in your organization.
In addition to this funding availability, SYASL has learned of some inventive ways to permit and potentially permit additional beds in different parts of the State. More on these developments in a future newsletter.
Ideas for Legislative Change in 2023?
Next Thursday, 10/20, CSAP's Governmental Affairs Committee and Board will consider ideas for legislative change in 2023. Many of you have submitted ideas already. This is just a gentle reminder to do so if you want to and haven't already. All you have to do is email Paul Yoder.
Worth a Read