Proposals build on lawmaker’s previous legislation
SACRAMENTO—Assemblymember James C. Ramos (D-Highland) today announced a five-bill mental health package that covers children’s crisis centers, suicide prevention, timely care and compensation for domestic terrorist attack victims, and ensuring that healthcare facilities dealing with involuntary confinement of the mentally ill provide up-to-date data that can address treatment inequities.
“Even before the pandemic hit us, California was lagging in confronting the mental health issues in our state. Since last March, we have seen alarming spikes in suicide rates, substance abuse, and domestic violence,” Ramos said. “Isolation, economic uncertainty, lack of school resources and reduced access to care due to virus precautions have all contributed to magnifying concerns among behavioral health professionals.”
The Ramos package includes:
- AB 226 (Children’s Crisis Residential Programs): ensures much-needed federal funding for Children’s Crisis Residential Programs to provide urgent mental health services for children in crisis. In California 47 out of 58 counties have no child/adolescent psychiatric hospital beds for children under age 12 – and fewer than 70 beds statewide. It also clarifies that these residential programs must be approved by the state Department of Health Care Services as Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facilities to maximize federal funding and, most importantly, to ensure the availability of these critical services for youth. Sponsor: California Alliance of Child and Family Services
- AB 270 (Suicide Lifeline): Allows California to develop the 988 Suicide Lifeline system designated by the federal government to direct calls made to the national hotline to an appropriate crisis center and ensuring local crisis responses to crises and stabilization services across our state. Sponsors: CalVoices, California Alliance of Child and Family Services
- AB 681 (Involuntary confinements and data collection): Requires designated facilities to submit quarterly reports on Lanterman-Petris-Short involuntary confinements – 5150 holds—of persons living with debilitating mental health disorders that result in an inability to care for their basic needs. In a recent state audit report, researchers stated policymakers relied on “disjointed and incomplete tools” without the information to assess the effect of the billions of dollars invested in the mental health system. The state auditor urged that mental health reporting requirements “be overhauled to capture comprehensive spending information as well as outcomes for programs.” Collected data would begin to offer continuity of care for those requiring 5150 holds by tracking confinement, treatment and the effectiveness of practices and procedures across the state.
- AB 772 (Workers’ Compensation for Terrorist Attacks): Streamlines the physical and mental injury compensation process for victims of domestic terrorist attacks. The bill was introduced to reduce delays in confirming eligibility for care and reducing the waiting period for compensation.
Ramos is also seeking a $2 million allocation to fund the work of the Office of Suicide Prevention created by his 2020 bill, AB 2112.
Assemblymember James Ramos proudly represents the 40th Assembly district which includes Highland, Loma Linda, Mentone, Rancho Cucamonga, Redlands, and San Bernardino. He is the first and only California Native American serving in the state’s legislature.