Did you know that RPA helps lobby our state legislatures for improved psychological supports and services in our counties and across the state?? The California Psychological Association (CPA) recently had a 2-day lobbying event at our capitol and the RPA was represented. The first day-and-a-half consisted of general training on how the system works and how to approach legislators to discuss bills. On the afternoon of 3/20/18, we, as representatives of RPA and a few others from the Napa/Solano Psychological Association visited Senator Bill Dodd, staff representing Assembly Person Jim Wood, Assembly Person Jim Frazier, and staff representing Assembly Person Cecilia Aguilar-Curry and Senator Mike McGuire.
During our meetings, we discussed the CPA’s new position on firearm violence, which the CPA has historically not addressed. Specifically, we discussed how gun violence is a public health crisis that we believe can be separated from the issue of gun ownership. We offered our legislators assistance in addressing this public health crisis in the form of evidenced based research and information regarding gun violence. In addition, there were two bills we lobbied for: First, SB 968 (Pan) School Counselors, which advocates for the California State University (CSU) and California Community Colleges to hire one full time licensed mental health counselor per 1,000 students. Currently, CSU campuses have closer to one mental health counselor for 2,000 students. Second, SB 1125 (Atkins) Same-Day Billing, which would require the Medi-Cal program to reimburse Federally Qualified Health Centers and Rural Health Clinics for two visits by a Medi-Cal beneficiary. Specifically, this would allow patients to see a physician and either a mental health provider or dental provider on the same day. Currently, patients have to come back on a separate day for these types of multiple appointments, which represents a significant burden to mental health access. Finally, we provided legislators a Distressed Constituents’ Guide that provided suggestions on how to handle verbally aggressive, anxious, demanding, violent, or suspicious constituents. The lobbying event was truly a very interesting experience. We would encourage you to participate at least once in this unique opportunity to dive into a world very different than what most of us do day-to-day.
Lori Pandolfo, PsyD and Christine Naber PhD
LAN Representative RPA President