Bill Text: CA AB2325 | 2017-2018 | Regular Session | Enrolled


Bill Title: County mental health services: veterans.

Spectrum: Slight Partisan Bill (Democrat 4-2)

Status: (Enrolled) 2018-07-10 - Enrolled and presented to the Governor at 3 p.m. [AB2325 Detail]

Download: California-2017-AB2325-Enrolled.html

Enrolled  July 05, 2018
Passed  IN  Senate  July 02, 2018
Passed  IN  Assembly  May 03, 2018

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2017–2018 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill No. 2325


Introduced by Assembly Member Irwin
(Coauthors: Assembly Members Aguiar-Curry, Cervantes, Eduardo Garcia, Mathis, and Patterson)

February 13, 2018


An act to amend Section 5600.3 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, relating to mental health services.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 2325, Irwin. County mental health services: veterans.
Existing law contains provisions governing the operation and financing of community mental health services for the mentally disordered in every county through locally administered and locally controlled community mental health programs. Existing law further provides that, to the extent resources are available, the primary goal of the use of funds deposited in the mental health account of the local health and welfare trust fund should be to serve specified target populations, including, among others, California veterans in need of mental health services who meet specified eligibility requirements. Existing law prohibits a county from denying county mental health services to an eligible veteran based solely on his or her status as a veteran. Existing law requires a county to refer a veteran to the county veterans service officer, if any, to determine the veteran’s eligibility for, and the availability of, mental health services provided by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs or any other federal health care provider.
This bill would prevent a county from denying an eligible veteran county mental or behavioral health services while the veteran is waiting for a determination of eligibility for, and availability of, mental or behavioral health services provided by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. The bill would make specific findings and declarations about the county’s duty to provide mental and behavioral health services to veterans.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: NO   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 (a) It is the intent of the Legislature to do both of the following:
(1) Enact legislation to make statutory changes to address the mental and behavioral health needs of veterans in California and to explore the opportunities for meeting those needs by improving access to mental health services for veterans in California.
(2) Improve access for veterans by connecting them to mental and behavioral health care services closer to home regardless of insurance coverage or eligibility for Medi-Cal or any other federal health care services, including, but not limited to, federal Veterans Administration eligibility.
(b) The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(1) Veterans in the counties are eligible for county mental and behavioral health services in the same manner as any other adult in the county, whether or not they are eligible for mental and behavioral health services from the federal Department of Veterans Affairs.
(2) The process of determining eligibility for services through the federal Department of Veterans Affairs can sometimes be a time-consuming process. Veterans should not have to wait to receive needed mental and behavioral health care while they await federal eligibility determination if another similarly situated adult could receive those services in his or her county.
(3) Mental and behavioral health services may not be available in a timely manner or in an accessible location when a veteran is eligible for benefits from the federal Department of Veterans Affairs. Veterans who need services in a county and cannot receive them in an adequate, timely, or accessible manner from another source should be treated like any other adult in the county and provided with those services through county mental health.
(4) Veterans who are eligible for and in need of county mental and behavioral health services should be treated in the same manner as any other adult in need of those services and should be provided those services through county mental health programs, irrespective of funding source.

SEC. 2.

 Section 5600.3 of the Welfare and Institutions Code is amended to read:

5600.3.
 To the extent resources are available, the primary goal of the use of funds deposited in the mental health account of the local health and welfare trust fund should be to serve the target populations identified in the following categories, which shall not be construed as establishing an order of priority:
(a) (1) Seriously emotionally disturbed children or adolescents.
(2) For the purposes of this part, “seriously emotionally disturbed children or adolescents” means minors under the age of 18 years who have a mental disorder as identified in the most recent edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, other than a primary substance use disorder or developmental disorder, which results in behavior inappropriate to the child’s age according to expected developmental norms. Members of this target population shall meet one or more of the following criteria:
(A) As a result of the mental disorder, the child has substantial impairment in at least two of the following areas: self-care, school functioning, family relationships, or ability to function in the community; and either of the following occur:
(i) The child is at risk of removal from home or has already been removed from the home.
(ii) The mental disorder and impairments have been present for more than six months or are likely to continue for more than one year without treatment.
(B) The child displays one of the following: psychotic features, risk of suicide or risk of violence due to a mental disorder.
(C) The child has been assessed pursuant to Article 2 (commencing with Section 56320) of Chapter 4 of Part 30 of Division 4 of Title 2 of the Education Code and determined to have an emotional disturbance, as defined in paragraph (4) of subdivision (c) of Section 300.8 of Title 34 of the Code of Federal Regulations.
(b) (1) Adults and older adults who have a serious mental disorder.
(2) For the purposes of this part, “serious mental disorder” means a mental disorder that is severe in degree and persistent in duration, which may cause behavioral functioning which interferes substantially with the primary activities of daily living, and which may result in an inability to maintain stable adjustment and independent functioning without treatment, support, and rehabilitation for a long or indefinite period of time. Serious mental disorders include, but are not limited to, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, as well as major affective disorders or other severely disabling mental disorders. This section shall not be construed to exclude persons with a serious mental disorder and a diagnosis of substance abuse, developmental disability, or other physical or mental disorder.
(3) Members of this target population shall meet all of the following criteria:
(A) The person has a mental disorder as identified in the most recent edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, other than a substance use disorder or developmental disorder or acquired traumatic brain injury pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 4354 unless that person also has a serious mental disorder as defined in paragraph (2).
(B) (i) As a result of the mental disorder, the person has substantial functional impairments or symptoms, or a psychiatric history demonstrating that without treatment there is an imminent risk of decompensation to having substantial impairments or symptoms.
(ii) For the purposes of this part, “functional impairment” means being substantially impaired as the result of a mental disorder in independent living, social relationships, vocational skills, or physical condition.
(C) As a result of a mental functional impairment and circumstances, the person is likely to become so disabled as to require public assistance, services, or entitlements.
(4) For the purpose of organizing outreach and treatment options, to the extent resources are available, this target population includes, but is not limited to, persons who are any of the following:
(A) Homeless persons who are mentally ill.
(B) Persons evaluated by appropriately licensed persons as requiring care in acute treatment facilities including state hospitals, acute inpatient facilities, institutes for mental disease, and crisis residential programs.
(C) Persons arrested or convicted of crimes.
(D) Persons who require acute treatment as a result of a first episode of mental illness with psychotic features.
(5) California veterans in need of mental health services and who meet the existing eligibility requirements of this section, shall be provided services to the extent services are available to other adults pursuant to this section. Veterans who may be eligible for mental health services through the United States Department of Veterans Affairs should be advised of these services by the county and assisted in linking to those services, but the eligible veteran shall not be denied county mental or behavioral health services while waiting for a determination of eligibility for, and availability of, mental or behavioral health services provided by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs.
(A) An eligible veteran shall not be denied county mental health services based solely on his or her status as a veteran, including whether or not the person is eligible for services provided by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs.
(B) Counties shall refer a veteran to the county veterans service officer, if any, to determine the veteran’s eligibility for, and the availability of, mental health services provided by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs or other federal health care provider.
(C) Counties should consider contracting with community-based veterans’ services agencies, where possible, to provide high-quality, veteran specific mental health services.
(c) Adults or older adults who require or are at risk of requiring acute psychiatric inpatient care, residential treatment, or outpatient crisis intervention because of a mental disorder with symptoms of psychosis, suicidality, or violence.
(d) Persons who need brief treatment as a result of a natural disaster or severe local emergency.

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