Mental Wellness Task Force


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COLLABORATION SUMMARIES CALIFORNIA CHILDREN'S TRUST ACSA's Mental Wellness Task Force has been working alongside California Children's Trust to ensure that all children in California receive the support they need for healthy development and social/emotional well-being. By working together to reinvent our state's approach to children's social, emotional, and developmental health, this collaboration has looked at innovative ways to provide funding through the federal share of Medicaid expenditure matched with a public, non-matched, non-federal dollar. Myriad factors have given rise to the need for such strategy. There is a growing consensus that the current design and outcomes are unacceptable, along with growing revenues (Mental Health Services Act and Realignment) in context of the Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic and Treatment Services (EPSDT) Entitlement and the addition of new science and learning that highlights the promise of behavioral health education. Here are the three main takeaways from the ACSA Mental Well Task Force and California Children's Trust collaboration: Maximize federal funding by leveraging existing revenues. There are currently billions of unspent state and county dollars that are eligible for federal matching funds. We can expand funding for childrens' services without new state investments and can invest our existing state funding to finance federal entitlements and incentivize counties to increase their investment of additional local resources to access federal financial participation. Broaden access to services that children and youth need, while enhancing quality, integration, and accountability for outcomes across child-serving systems. We can transform our fragmented, pathology-driven mental health systems into a unified approach that provides a foundation for resilience and healthy development. These actions could include: Adopting anti-racism and poverty reduction goals and strategies; increasing the inclusion of children and families with lived experience in the design, delivery, and evaluation of behavioral health programs and strategies; developing plans to meet the obligations of the Federal Mental Health Parity Law; and encouraging consistent implementation of SB 1287 (Hernandez), which clarifies the broad definition of medical necessity so that all children who need supportive services can access them. Change how we purchase services for children. We can create systems that directly include experiences of children and families if we explore possibilities such as: Unifying child-serving departments by adopting a standard set of child well-being indicators; piloting collaborations that transform procurement practices; and implementing strategies to pay for value (meaningful outcomes) rather than volume (units of service). ACSA has joined the coalition that intends to provide comments on the California Advancing and Innovating Medi-Cal (CalAIM) initiative, which seeks to improve the quality of life and health outcomes of Californians by implementing broad reforms for across Medi-Cal programs. Please find the letter regarding the CalAIM initiative below.

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