Federal News & Legislative Updates

June 1, 2018

CPA Sponsored Bill Scorecard

Youth SUD Treatment Continuum. Sadly, AB 2328 (Nazarian) never emerged from the graveyard for many bills, the Appropriations Committee. Yet, other bills address pieces of the problem of lack of SUD services for youth. CPA will play a part in promoting them.

IN PLAY. Loan Repayment Incentive Bills AB 2018 (Maienschein) and AB 2143 (Caballero) both passed the Assembly by unanimous consent and are waiting in the Senate. AB 2018 will be heard in Senate Health Committee on June 6.

IN PLAY. Online Psychiatric Bed Registry. Set aside last year because of opposition from the state Department of Public Health, AB 1136 (Eggman) is back in play. A recent meeting with DPH made some small progress outlining strategies for addressing current obstacles that could lead to success. AB 1136 waits in the Senate.

IN PLAY IN A BIG WAY. CPA requested $1 million in state funds to support fellowships for psychiatric education of primary care physicians which was approved last week by the Assembly. It now waits in the Joint Budget Conference Committee which reconciles differences in the proposed budgets from the two houses. The final product must be presented to the Governor for his signature by midnight June 15.

IN PLAY IN A BIG WAY. Changes in involuntary treatment laws always stir up strong feelings in the Capitol. AB 1971 (Santiago) is a perfect example. Who would have thought that trying to prevent people with severe mental illness from dying on the streets from preventable health conditions would engender fierce opposition? Despite a coalition of patient rights and client groups opposed to AB 1971 it received a vote of confidence when it passed off the floor of the Assembly 75-0 on Wednesday.

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.