2017 California Legislation: What Passed & What Didn’t

In September, several bills with possible implications for school health programs under consideration by the California Legislature were either suspended or passed and signed into law by the Governor.  Two bills with direct implications for the SMAA and LEA Billing programs, AB 834 and AB 481, both failed to pass out of committee. Read on for a brief summary of what passed, what didn't, and...

Help the California School-Based Health Alliance Set Their 2018 Policy Priorities

The California School-Based Health Alliance (CSHA), a statewide nonprofit which aims to improve health and academic success of children and youth by advancing health services in schools, is setting their policy priorities for 2018 and inviting CSHA members to provide feedback during a call on September 20, 2017. Over the past several years, CSHA has worked to advance several issues impacting...

Advisory Panel Finalizing School Health Recommendations to DHCS

The Medi-Cal Children's Health Advisory Panel (MCHAP) will be meeting on April 18, 2017 to finalize their recommendations to the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) on children's behavioral health care, including strengthening school-based health services through the SMAA and LEA programs. The most recent draft of MCHAP's recommendations call on DHCS to work more collaboratively with...

Are California’s Mental Health Dollars Helping Kids? – California Healthline

"California spends generously so schools can help disabled children with behavioral problems, but a recent audit found that no one knows exactly how the money is spent or if it is working. California schools get hundreds of millions of dollars a year from the state to identify and assist disabled children who have mental health problems. But we don’t know how the money is spent or if it is...

With Half of California’s Kids on Medicaid, Advocates Worry About Service

California’s Medi-Cal program has grown to cover nearly half of the state’s children, causing policymakers and child advocates to question the ability of the taxpayer-funded program to adequately serve so many poor kids. In the past two years alone, the program has added nearly 1 million young people up to age 20, including those newly eligible for Medi-Cal coverage under the Affordable...

State: Autism Therapy a Medi-Cal Benefit

State officials said yesterday autism therapy clearly is a covered Medicaid benefit, and they hope to submit a state plan amendment by Sept. 30 to start the process to make it a Medi-Cal benefit for those under age 21. According to René Mollow, deputy director of benefits and eligibility at the Department of Health Care Services, Medi-Cal children are entitled to applied behavior analysis --...

Many Steps To Go Before Authorizing Autism Therapy As Benefit, State Says

Paradigm Note: For school districts participating in California’s LEA Medi-Cal Billing Option Program (LEA Program) it’s important to note that these developments, while important, do not impact the list of services that are billable under the LEA program. Behavioral health services are not a covered service under the LEA program and would therefore require a state plan amendment (SPA) to be...

Health Coverage and Care for Youth in the Juvenile Justice System: The Role of Medicaid and CHIP

Girls and boys in the juvenile justice system are a diverse group of young people with often complex health needs. Many are from low-income families of color, have suffered abuse, were involved in the foster care system, and may require comprehensive and ongoing physical, reproductive, mental, and behavioral health services upon discharge from juvenile justice residential facilities. The provision...