CSAC Bulletin Article

CARE Courts, Conservatorships and Behavioral Health Heat Up; New Language Released

April 7, 2022

The language to implement Governor Newsom’s Community Assistance, Recovery, and Empowerment (CARE) Court proposal was amended into two legislative vehicles today, SB 1338 by Senators Tom Umberg and Susan Talamantes Eggman, and AB 2830 by Assembly Member Richard Bloom.

CSAC is working to analyze the language and is engaging with the Governor’s office on the goals for the language and to review the technical details.

Governor Newsom had initially proposed to implement CARE Courts through the state budget process, but both houses of the legislature have signaled the need to run the concept through the more thorough policy process. It is unclear which bill, SB 1338 or AB 2830, will actually move through the process.

The CARE Court language comes on the heels of Senator Eggman’s announcement this week of a package of eight bills focusing on improving access to behavioral health care. The bills, which are cosponsored by the Big City Mayors and psychiatrists and psychologists, include:

  1. SB 929 (Eggman) https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=202120220SB929

seeks to improve the data on services provided to Lanterman-Petris-Short (LPS) conservatees. 

  1. SB 965 (Eggman) https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=202120220SB965

Allows for relevant testimony to be heard during LPS conservatorship hearings.

  1. SB 970 (Eggman) https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=202120220SB970

Applies the Continuous Quality Improvement paradigm to Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) funding requiring greater accountability for spending and outcome data. Would also provide some funding flexibilities after three to five years of improvement under this framework.

  1. SB 1035 (Eggman) https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=202120220SB1035

Would allow a court to order medication compliance as part of an Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT, or Laura’s Law) treatment plan.

  1. SB 1154 (Eggman) https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=202120220SB1154
    Creates a statewide database of available behavioral health and substance use disorder treatment beds.
  2. SB 1227 (Eggman) https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=202120220SB1227

Adds one additional 30-day stabilization period to the authority of a Public Guardian or Conservator to continue to allow a client to improve and possibly avoid LPS conservatorship.

  1. SB 1238 (Eggman) https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=202120220SB1238
    Requires a regional planning process for behavioral health facilities and services akin to the state’s Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA).
  2. SB 1416 (Eggman) https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=202120220SB1238

Would change the definition of gravely disabled under LPS law to include an inability to make decisions related to personal or medical care as well as self-protection and safety.

Review Senator Eggman’s press release and fact sheets for all eight bills here. https://calmatters.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/Media-Packet-Modernizing-Our-Behavioral-Health-Continuum.pdf

Senator Eggman’s bill package joins two other related bills that are moving through the legislative process and of interest to counties, including:

AB 2275 (Wood and Stone): https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=202120220AB2275

This bill was introduced by the Assembly Members as a solution to issues raised in their Joint Informational Hearing on the LPS Act on December. Specifically, AB 2275 clarifies the starting point for 72-hour involuntary holds and directs additional data collection on LPS conservatorships. It was passed by the Assembly Health Committee on April 5.

SB 928 (Wieckowski): https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=202120220SB928

Raises the nominal fee that public administrators can charge for managing the estate of decedents from $1000 to $3000. CSAC supports SB 928.

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