Oct. 9, 2017: SIERRA SUN TIMES - California Governor Approves Expanded Services for Mental Health and Drug Use Disorders

October 09, 2017

SACRAMENTO – Last week Gov. Brown signed into law a plan to help community clinics more easily provide services for mental health and drug use disorders to California’s vulnerable communities.

“This bill will make it easier for health centers and counties to work together to improve mental health and drug use disorder treatments,” Sen. Holly J. Mitchell, D-Los Angeles, the author of Senate Bill 323, said.

SB 323 will allow federally qualified health centers and rural health clinics to receive reimbursement for providing substance use disorders and specialty mental health services. 

Community clinics are crucial to providing care to vulnerable residents but too often it is difficult for counties to contract with health centers, said Mitchell, adding that her bill will create a process where clinics have a clear path to becoming MediCal providers.

Carmela Castellano-Garcia, president and CEO of California Health+ Advocates, cosponsor of SB 323, praised Mitchell’s efforts.

“SB 323 will increase timely access to behavioral healthcare needs across California and ultimately lower the cost of care as patients address their needs before they end up in more expensive and less effective avenues such as an emergency room,” Castellano-Garcia said.

Mitchell’s measure was also cosponsored by the Community Clinic Association of Los Angeles County. Supporters include the California Consortium of Addiction Programs and Professionals; NAMI California; and numerous community clinics.

For additional information, visit Sen. Mitchell’s Web site HERE or at the address below.Sen. Mitchell is chair of the Senate Budget Committee. A member of the Legislature for more than six years,  she represents nearly 1 million residents of Senate District 30, which includes Culver City and much of Los Angeles. See a map of Mitchell’s district that includes a demographic breakdown of its residents and more HERE. Learn more at www.senate.ca.gov/Mitchell