CSAM Legislative Update
By: Randolph Holmes, MD and Robert Harris, CSAM Public Policy Advisor
The Legislature in Sacramento is slowly moving out of COVID-19 restrictions and getting on with the work of government. There have been limitations placed on the number of bills a Member from one house can carry over to the other side so some of CSAM’s bills have been moved to the 2022 calendar. Here are some important bills CSAM is sponsoring for 2021:
- CSAM is supporting an appropriation of $40 million to continue a pilot program started in 2019 to grant hospitals $100K for the purpose of hiring behavioral health counselors and peer navigators in ED’s. These people help patients with addiction and behavioral health needs start treatment in the ED and continue it after leaving the hospital. This is included in the budget proposal from the Senate and the Assembly.
- SB 57 (Wiener) this is the bill that will allow pilots for Overdose Prevention Sites (formerly known as Safe Injection Sites) to be started in San Francisco City and County, the City of Oakland, and the County of Los Angeles. It has passed out of the Senate and we anticipate it passing the Assembly. We will need a campaign to encourage Newsom to sign.
- SB 110 (Wiener) this is a bill that would allow Contingency Management to be used at a treatment modality in publicly funded treatment programs. It is an evidence-based treatment for stimulant use disorders, but federal regulations prohibit its use with federal funds (Medi-Cal). It is currently out of the Senate and in the Assembly. We will need help from our friends in Washington (ASAM and others) to change federal rules.
- AB 541 (Berman) originally required SUD treatment centers collect data on client smoking in addition to assessing and offering treatment for tobacco use disorder. It has passed unanimously in the Assembly and is now in the Senate. Unfortunately, the data collection requirement was removed in the appropriations committee. However, the bill still requires programs to do the assessment and offer treatment. Programs must demonstrate compliance with those provisions during their relicensing reviews.
- Newsom has proposed $3.5 billion for youth behavioral health, this would include substance use treatment as well.