Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes ofwebsite accessibilityMental health bill clears key Senate committee | KRCR
Close Alert

Mental health bill clears key Senate committee

Sen. Mike McGuire.jpg
Sen. Mike McGuire.jpg
Facebook Share IconTwitter Share IconEmail Share Icon
Comment bubble

This week, the Senate Health Committee approved a bill that would guarantee treatment for individuals experiencing first-episode psychosis.

Senate Majority Leader Mike McGuire proposed the bill in February, in an effort to connect patients with personalized mental health care and wrap-around services. The Committee passed SB 1337 in a 9-0 vote on April 27.

“Early psychosis is a heartbreaking condition that impacts far too many young Californians and those who love and care for them,” Senator McGuire said in a press release. “We know what needs to be done — guarantee access to mental health care.”

If passed, SB 1337 will require health care plan providers to cover Coordinated Specialty Care (CSC) services that treat first-episode psychosis, starting Jan. 1 of next year.

CSC is a treatment model used for addressing psychosis encompassing psychotherapy, medication, education, work support, and family support — services that are not traditionally provided by many private insurance companies.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness defines early or first-episode psychosis as the stage when an individual is first beginning to show signs of being disconnected from reality. McGuire took a hard stance, saying insurance providers are obligated to intervene.

“Coordinated Specialty Care can literally save a person’s life,” McGuire said. “It’s beyond time for insurers to step up. Withholding this medically necessary care to those suffering from this traumatic disease is truly appalling and we can change this with this bill.”

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, about 100,000 teens and young adults in the U.S. experience first-episode psychosis each year. Symptoms include paranoia, disorganized speech, delusional thoughts, and hallucinations. Psychosis can be caused by both mental and psychical conditions, medications, and substance abuse.

NIMH research also suggests that early intervention through CSC can help improve early psychosis symptoms.

Comment bubble

“We owe all Californians the right to a healthy and prosperous life,” McGuire said. “Medically necessary treatment — that’s covered by insurance — is a must.”

Loading ...