On Wednesday, Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins (D-San Diego), along with Sen. Mike McGuire (D-Healdsburg), introduced Senate Bill 66, legislation with bipartisan support that allows community health centers to bill Medi-Cal for two visits if a patient is provided mental health services on the same day they receive other medical services.
Currently, if a patient receives treatment through Medi-Cal at a community health center from both a medical provider and a mental health specialist on the same day, the Department of Health Care Services will reimburse the center for only one visit. A patient must seek mental health treatment on a subsequent day in order for that treatment to be reimbursed as a second visit.
Read the Full Article at Times Standard
So-called federally qualified health centers have proliferated and are increasingly relied on by the region’s major health systems.
Read this article on Sacramento Business Journal
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.
Read the article on GoldRushCam.com
National Conference of State Legislators Capitol Forum attendees at San Ysidro Health Centers
I had the great honor of attending the National Conference of State Legislatures Capitol Forum in Coronado, California on December 12th. This event is where legislators and staff from states across the country come to learn the latest on pressing issues and develop the agenda that guides NCSL’s advocacy work on Capitol Hill. This year’s event included an educational component that involved a tour of the San Ysidro Health Maternal and Child Health Center, San Diego PACE, Senior Health Center and San Ysidro Health Center sites. It was a great event and such an amazing opportunity to highlight the great work our community health centers are doing to legislators and their staff from other states.
I was personally moved by the presentation Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher gave at the event. A long-time champion of the community health center movement, she made a point to feature the great work that San Ysidro Health was doing in the community and the vital role they play in the lives of their patients. It was important for this audience to hear the true impact our health centers have, but it was equally important for these legislators to hear about the great relationship San Ysidro Health and Assmeblymember Gonzalez Fletcher have. We are truly lucky to have such amazing legislative leaders here in California – leaders who continue to be our staunch supporters. Assemblymember Gonzalez Fletcher is a true friend to the health center movement.
Carmela and Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher at the NCSL Capitol Forum Event December 12th
Senator Ben Hueso gave a moving presentation at the San Ysidro Maternal & Child Health Center. Senator Hueso spoke so eloquently about the health center movement being born of a time when communities were being left behind – the poorest neighborhoods with the most need were left without access to much-needed health care services. Like the border town where San Ysidro Health was originally established back in 1969, and how the organization had grown to provide high-quality care to thousands of patients through a vast and integrated network of sites throughout San Diego and El Cajon. His words were inspiring and rang so true for us in the room who are so dedicated to the health center movement.
Carmela with San Ysidro Health CEO Kevin Mattson (l) and Sentor Ben Hueso (m) at the San Ysidro Maternal & Child Health Center
Culminating the day with the San Ysidro Health site visit was probably the most exciting part of the event. I had personally never visited the Maternal & Child Health Center before and was blown away by the programs and services they offered – especially the child development services. It was a beautiful site and was a shining example of the all that our health centers offer. We were also fortunate to be able to see the San Diego PACE, Senior Health Center which provides senior support services along with health care services to those in the community.
It was such an incredible day, made even better by all of the wonderful comments I heard from the other attendees on our way back from the site visit. I’m excited and energized to get to work on our own legislative priorities in 2018 and feel so fortunate to be working with Senator Hueso and Assmeblymember Gonzalez Fletcher on important health center issues next year.