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AB-1619 Mental health careers: funding.(2019-2020)

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Date Published: 04/11/2019 09:00 PM
AB1619:v98#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  April 11, 2019

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2019–2020 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 1619


Introduced by Assembly Member Weber

February 22, 2019


An act relating to mental health, and making an appropriation therefor.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 1619, as amended, Weber. Mental Health Loan Assumption Program. health careers: funding.
The Mental Health Services Act, an initiative statute enacted by the voters as Proposition 63 at the November 2, 2004, statewide general election, funds a system of county mental health plans for the provision of mental health services. Among other provisions, the act declares the intent to establish a program with dedicated funding to remedy the shortage of qualified individuals to provide services to address severe mental illnesses. Existing law requires each county mental health plan to submit to the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (office) a needs assessment identifying professional and occupational shortages in the county mental health programs, as specified. Existing law requires the office, in coordination with the California Behavioral Health Planning Council, to develop a 5-year education and training development plan, including expansion plans for loan forgiveness and scholarship programs offered to current and prospective public mental health system employees. Under
Under existing law, the Health Professions Education Foundation is a nonprofit public benefit corporation established by the office, with various duties relating to the provision of scholarships and other types of financial assistance to students in the health professions from underrepresented groups with an interest in practicing in medically underserved areas.

This bill would appropriate $20,000,000 from the General Fund to the office, to increase available grant moneys for students eligible to apply for the Mental Health Loan Assumption Program (MHLAP), established by the office under the act and administer by the foundation. The funds would also be used to increase the maximum grant amount for an MHLAP recipient to $15,000, and to develop and implement an informational outreach program to attract and encourage eligible students from culturally and ethnically diverse communities to apply to MHLAP. The bill would express the intent of the Legislature that the total amount allocated to MHLAP from all funding sources each fiscal year be a minimum of $30,000,000.

This bill would appropriate $20,000,000 from the General Fund to the office for the purpose of reducing the shortage of, and disparity in, mental health services across the state by performing one or more of specified actions, including the recruitment and support of students enrolled in a postsecondary educational institution, who are from both an underrepresented group and a mental health professional shortage area, as defined, to pursue mental health careers.
Vote: 2/3   Appropriation: YES   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 (a) The sum of 20 million dollars ($20,000,000) is hereby appropriated from the General Fund to the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development for the purpose of reducing the shortage of, and disparity in, mental health services across the state by performing one or more of the following actions:
(1) Expanding and scaling pipeline programs to recruit and prepare pupils and students, who are from an underrepresented group, for mental health careers.
(2) Recruiting and supporting students enrolled in a postsecondary educational institution, who are from both an underrepresented group and a mental health professional shortage area, to pursue mental health careers.
(3) Supporting scholarships for students enrolled in a postsecondary educational institution who pursue a mental health profession and serve in a mental health professional shortage area.
(4) Recruiting and training students enrolled in a postsecondary educational institution, who are from a rural area or a mental health professional shortage area, to practice mental health care in a community health center in that area.
(b) For purposes of this section, the following definitions apply:
(1) “Mental health professional shortage area” means an area designated as such by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the United States Department of Health and Human Services.
(2) “Postsecondary educational institution” has the same meaning as provided in Section 66261.5 of the Education Code.
(3) “Rural area” means a medical service study area with a population density of fewer than 250 persons per square mile and no population center in excess of 50,000 within the area, as determined by the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development.
(4) “Underrepresented group” has the same meaning as provided in Section 128330 of the Health and Safety Code.
SECTION 1.

(a)The sum of $20 million is hereby appropriated from the General Fund to the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development for purposes of the Mental Health Loan Assumption Program (MHLAP) established by the office pursuant to Section 5822 of the Welfare and Institutions Code and administered by the office’s Health Professions Education Foundation. The appropriated funds shall supplement, and not supplant, the funding allocated to MHLAP from the Mental Health Services Fund. The funds shall be used for the following purposes:

(1)To increase available grant moneys for eligible MHLAP applicants. The office shall use the funds to allow MHLAP to address the shortage of mental health providers for hard to fill or retain positions within county public mental health systems, and to increase the maximum grant amount from $10,000 to $15,000 per recipient.

(2)To develop and implement an informational outreach program to attract and encourage eligible students from culturally and ethnically diverse communities to apply to MHLAP in order that the individuals may return to those communities as mental health providers and receive payment assistance for their educational loans.

(b)It is the intent of the Legislature that the total amount allocated to MHLAP from all funding sources each fiscal year shall be a minimum of $30 million.