BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                     AB 745


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          GOVERNOR'S VETO


          AB  
          745 (Chau)


          As Enrolled  September 4, 2015


          2/3 vote


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          |ASSEMBLY:  |78-0  |(May 4, 2015)  |SENATE: |40-0  |(September 1,    |
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          |ASSEMBLY:  |79-0  |(September 2,  |        |      |                 |
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          Original Committee Reference:  HEALTH


          SUMMARY:  Requires the Governor to appoint an additional member  
          to the Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability  
          Commission (Commission) who has experience providing supportive  
          housing to persons with a severe mental illness.  








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          The Senate amendments are technical, non-substantive amendments  
          reflecting County Mental Health Directors Association's name  
          change to the County Behavioral Health Directors Association of  
          California.


          FISCAL EFFECT:  According to the Senate Appropriations  
          Committee, pursuant to Senate Rule 28.8, negligible state costs.


          COMMENTS:  According to the author, supportive housing has  
          proven to be an effective strategy for reducing homelessness  
          among people with mental illness.  At any given moment more than  
          133,000 Californians are homeless.  The author states that of  
          these Californians, roughly 33,800 or 25% - are considered  
          chronically homeless.  According to researchers, at least  
          one-third of chronically homeless people are mentally ill.  The  
          Commission oversees the implementation of the Mental Health  
          Services Act (MHSA) and may advise the Governor or the  
          Legislature on mental health policy.  However, existing law does  
          not require the Commission to include any members with  
          experience providing supportive housing to persons with severe  
          mental illness.


          Background:  MHSA requires each county mental health department  
          to prepare and submit a three-year plan to the Department of  
          Health Care Services (DHCS) that must be updated each year and  
          approved by DHCS after review and comment by the Commission.   
          The Commission consists of 16 individuals, 12 of which are  
          appointed by the Governor.  DHCS is required to provide  
          guidelines to counties related to each component of the MHSA,  
          including, among other things, community services and support  
          content to provide integrated mental health and other support  
          services to those whose needs are not currently met through  
          other funding sources; prevention and early intervention content  
          to provide services to avert mental health crises; and,  








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          innovative program content to improve access to mental health  
          care.  In their three-year plans, counties are required to  
          include a list of all programs for which MHSA funding is being  
          requested and that identifies how the funds will be spent and  
          which populations will be served.


          At the time it was created, the Commission acted as a division  
          within the Department Mental Health (DMH); however, legislative  
          changes, effective March 2009 specified that the Commission is  
          to administer its operations separately and apart from DMH.   
          Currently, counties must submit their plans for approval to the  
          Commission before the counties may spend certain categories of  
          funding.


          Support.  The California Primary Care Association writes in  
          support of this bill that research has clearly demonstrated the  
          positive effects that supportive housing can have on an  
          individual's employment, mental health, physical health, and  
          school attendance, leading to decreased use of hospitals,  
          emergency rooms, jails, and prisons.  Stable housing is a  
          critical component of engaging their patients in physical and  
          behavioral health care management.  The requirement to include a  
          voting member on Commission with experience with supportive  
          housing services ensures that programs and funding targeting  
          individuals with behavioral health conditions takes the unique  
          needs of those individuals experiencing homelessness into  
          consideration. 


          According to the National Association of Social Workers -  
          California Chapter (NASW), Proposition 63 of 2004 established  
          the Commission for the purposes of overseeing the implementation  
          of the MHSA.  The NASW states in support that providing a person  
          with experience in supportive housing to the Commission is also  
          consistent with improving the delivery of mental health services  
          to those in need.









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          There is no opposition on file.


          GOVERNOR'S VETO MESSAGE:


          This bill would add an additional member to the Mental Health  
          Services Oversight and Accountability Commission with experience  
          in supportive housing.


          While supportive housing can help improve the lives of those  
          with serious mental illness, I believe that the current  
          commission -- with sixteen members -- is adequate to the task.




          Analysis Prepared by:                                             
                          Paula Villescaz / HEALTH / (916) 319-2097  FN:  
          0002506