Senator Wiener’s Bills To Improve Access to Youth Mental Health and Prescription Medication Pass Senate Health Committee

April 17, 2023

SACRAMENTO – The Senate Health Committee passed Senator Scott Wiener’s (D-San Francisco) bills SB 70 and SB 238. SB 238, the Youth Mental Health Access Act, passed 9-0 and heads next to the Appropriations Committee. SB 70, The Medication Access Act, passed 12-0 and heads next to the Appropriations Committee. 

About The Youth Mental Health Access Act (SB 238)

“Our young people are facing a mental health crisis, and we must do everything we can to improve their timely access to care,” said Senator Wiener. “Each year thousands of young people are denied this critical care by private insurance plans. We know that most of the denials referred to IMR recently have been overturned, and it’s time we made it easier for families to fight these denials. SB 238 will help hundreds of kids each year get access to care, and I’m here to fight for it every step of the way.”

SB 238 improves young people’s access to mental health treatments by automatically referring any denial of such coverage by a private insurer to the state’s existing Independent Medical Review (IMR) process.

SB 238 is sponsored by Children Now. Read more about SB 238 here.

About The Medication Access Act (SB 70)

“Prescription decisions belong in the hands of healthcare providers, not private insurers,” said Senator Wiener. “SB 70 prevents insurers from endangering patients' lives endangering patients’ lives and trying to overrule a physician’s treatment plan. As someone living with Crohn’s disease, I look forward to fighting to pass this legislation to protect Californians living with chronic illness.”

SB 70 improves access to medication by limiting the circumstances in which a health plan can change a patient’s medication for financial, rather than medical reasons. It adds dosage and medication form to  existing protections against the practice, providing continuity of care for patients with chronic illness.

SB 70 is sponsored by the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation. Read more about SB 70 here.