Policy Platform

2018 Policy Platform

CBHA is a statewide association of mental health and substance use disorder non-profit community agencies dedicated to the proposition that the people of California deserve a rational, comprehensive, community-based behavioral health system that is adequately funded with an outcome based, data driven, and culturally responsive approach to serve all those in need of services. We work strategically and collaboratively to pursue public policy initiatives that create system change for communities across our state that support integrated health care services for children, youth, adults, and the elderly. This includes a comprehensive behavioral health care system with a full array of mental health and substance use disorder programs and services integrated with the physical health care system, along with housing, social services, education, and vocational rehabilitation.

In the next year, the primary goal of CBHA is to address challenges facing the behavioral health system at the federal and state level. We must continue to fight any challenges to the current health care system at the federal level including protecting the expansion of Medicaid known as Medi-Cal in California and the requirement that all health insurance plans include coverage for mental health and substance use disorder services as part of an integrated system of care through the American Care Act. Proposed cuts to Medicaid would devastate health care in our state. At the state level, we must continue to fight any efforts that would cut funding or services for all non-profit providers of care for health and human services.


1) Paperwork Reduction
Varying county-mandated documentation requirements results in California having an average of 20 minutes needed to document each therapy/treatment visit, which is four times the national average. Not only does this reduce the amount of time for professionals to provide services, the frustration associated with excessive documentation encourages trained and licensed staff to seek jobs outside of this field. Statewide standards must be established to increase treatment capacity and retain a qualified work force.

2) Explore Options to Regain Funding for Recent Loss of Mental Health Revenue Funds
The move of 1991 Realignment funds from mental health services to In Home Supportive Services will result in a loss of $36 million for the 2017-18 fiscal year that will grow to nearly $200 million over five years. The 2004 Mental Health Services Act which was intended to provide new services, is now mostly used to back-fill losses from the 1991 Realignment funds. The result is an inability to expand the treatment network for those critically in need of services.

3) Crisis Care
Prevention and early intervention is a key tenet of best practice in the delivery of mental health services irrespective of age – whether for children, adolescents, transition age youth or adults. The absence of sufficient and cost-effective community-based crisis services represents a substantial gap in the continuum of mental health care available in California. This is especially true for children and youth where accessing crisis services may be their first introduction to the state’s mental health system. Adequate funding to ensure timely access to such services is critical to improving the full continuum of crisis care services in community-based settings. Services include: mobile crisis intervention and assessment, crisis stabilization, comprehensive home-based assessments, and in home behavioral services. Positive outcomes from such an approach would include a reduced reliance of psychiatric hospitalization and substantial cost savings.

4) Workforce Employment and Training
Support the need for a one-time extension of the WET funds for workforce development until a new long-range workforce plan is developed.


1) Workforce Development
Encourage the State of California, in partnership with providers and the behavioral health community, to develop a new strategic long-term plan to address the crisis of workforce development at all levels in the behavioral healthcare field. As part of this effort an outcome based review of what was done over the past ten years should be required as part of any new planning effort.

2) Champion Restructuring of Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Offices Within DHCS
Encourage the State of California to invest the resources and personnel necessary to address the behavioral care crisis in our state. We request the State expand the Behavioral Healthcare Unit that includes the mental health and substance use disorder units, increase integration and coordination between these units, and add funding for additional staff to meet the demands currently placed on these units as they are critically underfunded and understaffed. Additionally, we request consideration of a new Under Secretary for Behavioral Healthcare in the Health and Human Services Agency.

3) Reduce Racial and Ethnic Disparity
Encourage the State of California and the Behavioral Healthcare Community to further address the disparity of mental health and substance use disorder services among different communities based on culture, race, and ethnicity.

4) Reduce Geographic Disparity
Encourage the State of California and the behavioral healthcare community to further address the disparity of mental health and substance use disorder services in the suburban and rural areas of our state.