Welcome to the Local Advocacy Network!


Currently the LAN Representative position is Katie Polsky, Ph.D. 



CPA LAN Update August 2020: 



CPA Supports Federal Telehealth Expansion Bill


CPA signed onto a letter urging Congress to support HR 7663 to make permanent the recent policies that allow for Medicare reimbursement of telehealth services. HR 7663, known as the Protecting Access to Post-COVID-19 Telehealth Act of 2020 would:

  • Remove arbitrary geographic restrictions on where a patient must be located in order to utilize telehealth services;
  • Enable patients to continue to receive telehealth services in their homes;
  • Ensure federally qualified health centers and rural health centers can furnish telehealth services; and
  • Establish permanent waiver authority for the Secretary of Health & Human Services during future emergency periods and for 90 days after the expiration of a public health emergency period.

CPA was compelled to sign onto this letter as we have seen the benefits of telehealth expansion for access and continuity of care during the pandemic. On the federal level, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services has released preliminary data that shows that, in the last week of April, nearly 1.7 million Medicare beneficiaries utilized telehealth services versus 13,000 per the week prior to the declaration of the public health emergency. The letter and its signatories recognize how health care providers invested heavily in telehealth to ensure their patients could continue to receive necessary care. Congress needs to act now to make this expansion permanent at the federal level. To view a copy of the letter, please click here.








At its July Board Meeting, the CPA Board of Directors met to discuss recently amended legislation and voted to support the following bills. At the August meeting, we will be considering initiatives that have qualified for the November 2020 ballot.



AB 66 (Gonzalez D) Police: use of force
A response to police tactics used in the recent Black Lives Matters protests, this bill prohibits use of chemical agents (tear gas) and kinetic energy projectiles (rubber bullets) by police in any assembly/protest or for curfew enforcement. The bill further limits use of these agents and creates new regulations and restrictions for their use in a defined riot situation.

AB 1196 (Gipson D) Peace officers: use of force
Responding to the killing of George Floyd in Minnesota by four police officers, and building upon a use of force standard created in the earlier CPA supported bill, AB 392 (Weber), this bill bans the use of carotid restraints and choke holds in every law enforcement agency in California.

AB 2054 (Kamlager D) Emergency services: community response: grant program
This bill would, until January 1, 2024, enact the Community Response Initiative to Strengthen Emergency Systems Act or the C.R.I.S.E.S. Act program. The goal of the Act and the grant program detailed in the Act, is to expand the participation of community organizations, including mental health organizations, in emergency response for specified vulnerable populations. This bill is designed to de-escalate crises, reduce reactive violence, and to send vital services to people who have a tougher time accessing critically needed emergency services.

SCR 92 (Pan D) Racism as a public health crisis
This resolution would recognize racism as a threat to public health and direct the Legislature and Governor to begin to take steps to address the issue, including raising awareness and heightening public knowledge of the crisis and the long-standing impacts of systemic racism. The resolution further suggests that the Legislature and the Governor approach laws and regulations with an anti-racist, Health-in-All policy, equity-driven focus that interrogates whether policies play a role in upholding or dismantling racist systems and also work to secure adequate resources to address the crisis.

State Mental Health Parity Bill Passes Senate and Moves to the Assembly

SB 855 (Wiener), a transformative bill that will change how mental health and substance use disorders (MH/SUD) are treated in California, was approved by the full Senate last month on a bipartisan vote and will be heard in the Assembly when the Legislature reconvenes in late July.

SB 855 expands state mental health parity law by mandating all DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) diagnoses for mental health conditions and substance use disorders be covered at parity in California. The measure further creates a broad statutory definition of medical necessity to determine care coverage (instead of each health plan using their own definition). SB 855 puts the patient first and allows the clinician’s judgment to determine care. Current state law mandates health insurers cover nine severe mental illness diagnoses at parity and insurers can create their own definition of medical necessity. To view the bill, click here.




Major Mental Health Parity Expansion Bill in Senate Appropriations Committee; Could Advance to Senate Floor on Thursday

SB 855 (Wiener), a transformative bill that will change how mental health and substance use disorders are treated in California, could move from the Senate Appropriations Committee to the Senate Floor before the end of the week.

SB 855 expands state mental health parity law by mandating all DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) diagnoses for mental health conditions and substance use disorders be covered at parity in California. The measure further creates a broad statutory definition of medical necessity to determine care coverage (instead of each health plan using their own definition). SB 855 puts the patient first and allows the clinician’s judgment to determine care. Current federal law provides for all DSM diagnoses but is not an outright mandate. To view the bill, click here.

Please look for grassroots actions on this bill as it moves to the Senate Floor and then the State Assembly. This is one of two mental health bills moving forward this year, so we are working with our partners in the mental health community to ensure a strong bill is passed and signed into law in 2020.

CPA Board Votes to Support SB 939 To Stop Commercial Office Space Evictions and Ease Financial Burden During COVID 19

Earlier this month, the CPA Board of Directors unanimously voted to support SB 939 (Wiener), a bill aimed to provide relief for those in commercial leases, including psychologists who rent office space. This bill is also in the Senate Appropriations Committee; if approved, it will move to the Senate Floor.

SB 939, which would go into effect immediately after being signed the Governor, establishes a temporary eviction moratorium, a 12-month rent repayment period, and procedures for the renegotiating or terminating of certain commercial tenancy leases for commercial tenants impacted by COVID-19. The eviction moratorium would last until 90 days after the COVID-19-state of emergency is lifted. This statewide measure is similar to recently city approved rent moratoriums for residential property.

To view SB 939, please click here.

New Director at the California Department of Health Care Services

On Monday, June 15, 2020, Governor Newsom appointed Will Lightbourne to serve as the Director of the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS). Lightbourne previously served as the Director of the California Department of Social Services from 2011 to 2018. He also has served as an advisor to Governor Newsom on issue of homelessness. His new role at DHCS includes administration of the Medi-Cal program, county behavioral health departments, the California Behavioral Health Planning Council, the Mental Health Services Act Oversight and Accountability Commission. DHCS’s portfolio includes working with people experiencing homelessness, tribal communities, individuals and families facing challenges related to immigration, and adults and children coping with chronic or complex physical and behavioral health issues.

Additional Funding Opportunities for Psychologists Available-Act Now!

The Federal Health and Human Services Agency recently announced $15 billion in new funding opportunities for Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) providers. Eligible providers must have billed Medicaid or CHIP from Jan 1, 2018 -May 31, 2020 AND must not have received previous Medicare provider relief offered earlier this year. As you are likely aware, California’s Medicaid program is called Medi-Cal.

To view the California Department of Health Care Services announcement, please visit: Additional Funding for Medicaid/CHIP Providers and Safety Net Hospitals

To view the APA announcement, please visit: https://www.apaservices.org/practice/clinic/covid-19-medicaid-chip-funding

Telehealth Expansion Advocacy-In Case You Missed It

While the state of California has allowed for telehealth reimbursement for years, the COVID 19 crisis has fast tracked the expansion of telehealth. The Governor’s Executive Orders and administrative actions continue to be in effect without a clear end date. CPA is proactively advocating for the extension of many of the telehealth expansion for at least one year after the state emergency has ended. Should these issues not be addressed by the Administration, CPA is looking to join in a legislative effort with fellow health care providers.

CPA, in conjunction with the state’s mental health provider associations, recently sent a letter to the Governor outlining the need to keep many telehealth policies in place for at least a year after the end of the state of emergency. Many of these changes made in the last two months, such as reimbursement parity, were scheduled to implemented in January 2021 after passage of AB 744 (Aguiar Curry) in 2019. We are asking for continued implementation of those policies and an extension of those not due to be implemented in 2021. Here are the items we are advocating for:

  • Reimbursement Parity between Telehealth and In-Person Visits (Including Telephone)
  • All Telehealth Services Covered Regardless of Evidence of Coverage
  • Removal of Coverage Limitations
  • Prohibit Mandatory Use of Vendor Specific Services/Telehealth Platforms
  • Expedite Telehealth Credentialing
  • Allowing Any Service Location
  • Immediately Moving to Remote Supervision in a Subsequent State Emergency
  • Implementing Continuity of Care Guidelines


Any questions? Please email Amanda Levy at alevy@cpapsych.org
 


COVID19 Resources

For all CPA related information, please visit:
https://www.cpapsych.org/page/COVID-19

For all California COVID 19 information, please visit:
https://covid19.ca.gov/

For telehealth-specific related information for the state, please visit:
https://covid19.ca.gov/telehealth/

For county specific policy, please visit:
https://www.counties.org/county-websites-profile-information






Past LAN Events:


7/10/19 & 9/12/19: Capitol Leaders Group


8/17/19: Make a Splash by Pooling Our PAC Dollars


6/26/18 & 8/21/18: Capitol Leaders Group


6/16/18: Bottoms Up to Top Off the PAC


6/1/17 & 9/12/17: Capitol Leaders Group


6/24/17: Bottoms Up to Top Off the PAC

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