Federal News & Legislative Updates

May 18, 2018

Graduate Medical Education

To address the acute shortage of mental health professionals, the May Revision proposes an increase of $55 million to support psychiatric graduate medical education programs serving Health Professional Shortage Areas or Medically Underserved Areas in rural portions of the state. CPA intends to protect this proposal from appropriation for other purposes.

April 6, 2018

California Psychiatric Association sponsorship of AB 2018

Late in the afternoon on Tuesday, April 3, as it's last order of business, the Assembly Health Committee heard CPA sponsored AB 2018, a bill that creates an innovative and unique incentive program for psychiatrists to engage in community psychiatry training and practice. The CPA team that testified was led by UC San Diego public psychiatry Fellow Priti Ojha, M.D., and recent UC San Francisco Public Psychiatry Fellowship Program graduate Carrie Cunningham, M.D. Both gave personal testimony about experiences working with severely disadvantaged communities and severely mentally ill individuals, such as those with schizophrenia.

Three Fellows from the UC San Diego program also appeared to testify, as did their Program Director Steve Koh, M.D.. UC San Francisco was well represented by Christina Mangurian, M.D., the Public Psychiatry Program Director. At the end of the hearing the committee unanimously approved the bill and passed it out for a total of 15 'Yes' votes. One member of the committee, Asm. Aguiar-Curry, representing Yolo and Napa Counties, asked if she could become a co-author on the bill, citing the rural nature of her assembly district and the need for more psychiatric services. The author, Asm. Maienschein from San Diego, is a champion for mental health issues and we were lucky to have him, as well as the co-sponsorship of the Steinberg Institute.

Thanks to the participating Fellows who included Dr. Martinez and Dr. Castillo along with Dr. Malak, associate director for the UCSD Fellowship Program.

March 22, 2018

California Psychiatric Association sponsorship of AB 2143

CPA sponsored AB 2143 would provide an incentive for psychotherapists to gain medical training by going on to become PAs or NPs. It passed out of the Assembly Business and Professions Committee with bi-partisan support on a 13-0 vote! Interestingly, Asm. Susan Eggman - a social worker who has worked closely with the CPA on a number of legislative projects and a member of the Committee - spoke passionately about the benefits of the bill and provided the motion that moved the bill. Asm. Caballero - who was formerly Gov. Brown’s Cabinet Secretary as well as Secretary for the State and Consumer Services Agency – is a great author and thrilled to work with the CPA. Asm. Caballero did a very admirable job framing the aims of the bill. Next stop, Assembly Health Committee!

February 16, 2018

APA Joins Other Physician Groups to Demand Action on Gun Violence

In the aftermath of Wednesday’s shooting that killed 17 students and staff members at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., APA and four organizations representing 450,000 physicians and medical students called on President Donald Trump and Congress to take meaningful action against gun violence. Joining with APA were the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the American College of Physicians.

“Gun violence is a public health epidemic that is growing in frequency and lethality, and it is taking a toll on our patients,” the groups said in a
statement released today. “We urge our national leaders to recognize in this moment what the medical community has long understood: we must treat this epidemic no differently than we would any other pervasive threat to public health. We must identify the causes and take evidence-based approaches to prevent future suffering.”

The groups have asked the president and Congress to take the following actions: Label violence caused by the use of guns a national public health epidemic. Fund appropriate research at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as part of the FY 2018 omnibus spending package. Establish constitutionally appropriate restrictions on the manufacture and sale, for civilian use, of large-capacity magazines and firearms with features designed to increase their rapid and extended killing capacity.

While mass shootings attract much attention from the public and the media, the groups noted that current policies regarding access to guns in this country expose Americans daily to the risks of violent acts including suicide, homicide, and unintentional injury.

“The families of the victims in Parkland and all those whose lives have been impacted by daily acts of gun violence deserve more than our thoughts and prayers. They need action from the highest levels of our government to stop this epidemic of gun violence now,” the statement concluded.

February 9, 2018

APA Elects Dr. Bruce Schwartz as President-Elect

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The members of the American Psychiatric Association (APA) have chosen Bruce J. Schwartz, M.D., as its next president-elect. The results were released today but are not official until the APA Board of Directors confirms the election at its March meeting.

Schwartz is the Deputy Chairman and a Professor of Psychiatry in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Montefiore Medical Center and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City. He has served numerous leadership roles at APA, including currently as the Treasurer of the APA and chair of the Audit Committee and member of the Investment Oversight Committee, Finance and Budget Committee and Board of the APA Foundation. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the Mental Health Association of NYC and was the Editor-in-Chief of the American Journal of Psychotherapy from 2012 to 2017.

February 9, 2018

APA Applauds Bipartisan Budget Agreement Bill That Includes Much-needed Funding for Opioid Crisis, NIH and Children’s Health Insurance Program

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The American Psychiatric Association (APA) applauds today’s early morning passage of bipartisan budget legislation that will secure federal funding for two years. In response, the APA is issuing this statement from its CEO and Medical Director Saul Levin, M.D., M.P.A.:

“We are pleased that today’s budget deal included $6 billion to fight opioid abuse, one of the most critical public health issues facing our nation today. The opioid crisis has taken a heavy toll on millions of families in American. We applaud Congress for approaching these issues in a bipartisan way. Our members stand ready to provide our expertise in treating this epidemic.

“In addition to funding for the opioid crisis, the APA is pleased that this bill extends the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) another four years through 2028, as well as securing additional funding for the critical work done at the National Institutes of Health.”

January 23, 2018

APA Applauds CHIP Reauthorization, Providing Continued Access to Health Care for Millions of Low-Income Children and Youth

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The American Psychiatric Association (APA) applauds bipartisan congressional passage of legislation extending the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), protecting children's health coverage and providing access to needed health and mental health services for nearly nine million children and adolescents from low-income families.

As part of a short-term government funding bill, Congress has passed a measure extending funding for CHIP for six years, through Fiscal Year 2023. The bill also extends funding for the Childhood Obesity Demonstration Project and the Pediatric Quality Measures Program and extends specified outreach and enrollment grants.