FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Edmundo Cuevas
PHONE: (916) 319-2049
April 5, 2017 PR#: COPR 17-07
LEGISLATION INTENDED TO IMPROVE MENTAL HEALTH DISPARITIES FOR RACIAL AND ETHNIC COMMUNITIES’ PASSES POLICY COMMITTEE
SACRAMENTO – Yesterday, the Assembly Committee on Health approved AB 850, authored by Assemblymember Ed Chau (D-Monterey Park), which will expand the Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission (MHSOAC) by requiring the Governor to appoint an additional member with knowledge and experience in reducing mental health disparities, especially for racial and ethnic communities. Under current law, the MHSOAC exists to provide oversight for the implementation of Proposition 63, the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA).
“Although the MHSA has undoubtedly improved the mental health system and provided new and better services for consumers and their families in California, the Commission has not undertaken any significant evaluation on the topic of reducing disparities for racial and ethnic communities – who make up more than 60% of our state’s population – since 2014,” said Assemblymember Chau. “Consequently, it is difficult to determine if these communities are being served equitably or whether they are benefiting from programs that are effective, culturally appropriate, or desirable.”
The MHSOAC is comprised of 16 members, with appointments by the Governor, the Legislature, the Attorney General, and the Superintendent of Public Instruction. In the past, the MHSOAC has received one hour of training per year by the Cultural and Linguistic Competence Committee. However, there has not been any such training in several years. Additionally, while there are requirements for each seat, there is no seat that requires knowledge of reducing mental health disparities for racial and ethnic communities.
“Having a person with knowledge and experience in reducing mental health disparities for diverse racial and ethnic communities to serve on the Commission provides an opportunity to have an advocate ask critical questions about whether MHSA programs and funding address cultural competence and reduce disparities,” concluded Assemblymember Chau.
Assemblymember Ed Chau represents the 49th Assembly District, comprised of the communities of Alhambra, Arcadia, El Monte, Monterey Park, Rosemead, San Gabriel, San Marino, Temple City and portions of Montebello, and South El Monte.
Capitol Office: State Capitol, P.O. Box 942849 • Sacramento, CA 94249-0049 • (916) 319-2049 • Fax: (916) 319-2149
49th Assembly District Web Site: http://democrats.assembly.ca.gov/members/a49