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  • Cassidy Carter BSN, RN

CA Governor Signs Key Bill, Expanding Access to Mental Health

In the state of California, this newly signed bill will require health insurance companies to broaden their coverage of mental health and substance use disorders.

Governor Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill no. 855, which would require health care service plan contracts or insurance policies to provide medically necessary treatment of mental health and substance use disorders; under the same terms and conditions applied to other medical conditions. This includes policies issued, amended or renewed on or after January 1, 2021.

SB 855 expands mental health and substance use treatment coverage to more illnesses and conditions, moving us closer to true parity between mental health and physical health care.

Expanded access includes intermediate services, including but not limited to residential treatment (RTC), partial hospitalization (PHP) and intensive outpatient treatment. Coverage expands to treatment in children, adolescents and adults for both substance use and mental health treatment.

Clinical review criteria will be provided as requested, with no fee. This is inclusive to providers and health care service plan members. Previously, this information was available, but usually had a fee associated with it.

Now more than ever, coverage for mental health is needed as we face unprecedented challenges. You can read more about the approved Senate Bill no. 855 here.

What is needed to expand mental health access to other states?

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