California Governor Signs Historic Legislation on Mental Health
September, 25, 2020
California Governor Gavin Newsom has signed historic legislation that makes California the first in the nation to require insurers to cover mental health in the same way they cover physical health.
As Americans grapple with despair caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, we applaud the Governor and State Legislature for passing two pieces of legislation that declare what we have been promoting for a quarter of a century: that mental health is health!
These two bills, signed into law on Friday, September 25, demonstrate California’s commitment to advancing parity and access to mental health in a way that will truly transform and save lives:
SB 855 (Wiener) creates a new national model for true mental health parity in California by requiring insurers to cover mental health and substance use services as they cover treatment for physical health. Just as insurers do not withhold treatment from a stage 1 cancer patient until they are in a later state of illness, insurers can no longer make people with mental health and substance use problems wait until they are sicker and more disabled before they can access treatment.
SB803 (Beall) provides a way for people in recovery for mental health or substance use issues to receive standardized, state-certified training to work as peers with mental health clients. The bill allows Didi Hirsch and other mental health agencies to begin billing for peer services so people with lived experience can be paid for their services. At a time when unemployment is at an all-time high, this bill provides a way to diversify and rejuvenate the state’s workforce when it’s needed more than ever.
To read more about these two historic bills, click on the links below: