Bills Supported in the 2023 Legislative Session
AB 483 (Muratsuchi and Wood) – Local Education Agency: Medi-Cal Billing Option
Co-sponsors: California Association of School Psychologists, California County Superintendents, California School Boards Association, Los Angeles Unified School District, Santa Clara County Office of Education
AB 483 provides reforms to the process by which the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) audits claims made by schools under the Medi-Cal Local Educational Agency Billing Option Program (LEA BOP) to increase access to school-based health and mental health services by students.
SB 282 (Eggman) – Medi-Cal: Federally Qualified Health Centers and Rural Health Clinics
SB 282 updates the state’s Medi-Cal code to allow FQHCs and RHCs to bill Medi-Cal for two visits if a patient is provided mental health services on the same day they receive other medical services.
SB 509 (Portantino) – Youth Mental and Behavioral Health Education
Co-sponsor: Common Sense Media
SB 509 requires the California Department of Education to ensure that 75 percent of classified and certificated employees on school campuses complete an evidence-based behavioral health training program. This instruction will guide school staff on how to provide referrals to mental health services, substance use disorder services, or other support to individuals in the early stages of developing a mental illness or substance use disorder.
SB 274 (Skinner) – Suspensions and Expulsions: Willful Defiance
SB 274 removes disrupting school activities or otherwise willfully defying the valid authority of supervisors, teachers, administrators, school officials, or other school personnel engaged in the performance of their duties from the list of acts for which a pupil, regardless of their grade of enrollment, may be suspended or recommended for expulsion. The bill would extend the prohibition against the suspension of charter school pupils for those acts to all grades, indefinitely.
SB 238 (Wiener) – Health Care Coverage: Independent Medical Review
Co-sponsor: Children Now
SB 238 removes barriers to youth accessing mental health treatments by requiring that any mental health treatment denials made by private insurance companies be automatically referred to the state’s existing Independent Medical Review (IMR) process. According to reports from the DMHC call center, approximately 94% of IMRs between 2020-2022 were filed in English and 3.87% were filed in Spanish. These statistics are not reflective of the state’s population, suggesting that those who do not speak English are having trouble accessing the process to review health plan denials.
SB 541 (Menjivar) – Youth Health Equity and Safety Act
Co-sponsors: Generation Up, Black Women for Wellness Action Project, Essential Access Health, and URGE
SB 541 supports youth health and well-being, addresses the sexually transmitted infection (STI) epidemic among California youth, and improves public health outcomes statewide, by requiring each public school to make condoms available to all pupils free of charge. The bill would require each public school to allow the distribution of condoms during the course of, or in connection to, educational or public health programs and initiatives, as provided. This bill would add, to the list of comprehensive clinical family planning services under the Family PACT Program, coverage for immunization against human papillomavirus (HPV), as clinically indicated, to persons who are 18 years of age or younger.
AB 599 (Ward) – Suspensions and Expulsions: Controlled Substances
Co-sponsors: California Alliance of Child and Family Services, Children Now, and California Youth Empowerment Network
AB 599 removes unlawfully possessing, using, or being under the influence of a controlled substance, an alcoholic beverage, or an intoxicant of any kind from the list of acts for which a pupil, regardless of their grade of enrollment, may be suspended or recommended for expulsion for. The bill would, commencing July 1, 2025, prohibit a charter school pupil in kindergarten or any of grades from being suspended or recommended for expulsion solely on the basis of those acts.
AB 665 (Carrillo) – Medi-Cal Minor Consent Working Group
Co-sponsors: California Alliance of Child and Family Services, Cal Voices, GenerationUp, National Center for Youth Law, National Health Law Program, The California Children’s Partnership, and The California Children’s Trust
AB 655 aligns the standards of mental health care consent for all young people in the state. It allows all young people ages 12 and older to consent to their own mental health treatment, while still allowing providers, after consulting with the youth, to work with the youth’s parent(s). The bill would no longer require youth on Medi-Cal to meet a higher standard of need than their higher-income peers by eliminating the requirement that young people on Medi-Cal be in imminent danger of self-harm or the victim of child abuse in order for the Medi-Cal plan to pay for minor consent services.