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Majority Leader Aguiar-Curry Mental Health Bill Package Passes the Assembly Floor

For immediate release:

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Assembly Majority Leader Cecilia Aguiar-Curry (D- Winters) announced that Assembly Bill 2237 and Assembly Bill 2703 passed the Assembly Floor with decisive bipartisan support. These crucial pieces of legislation will help better support Californians facing mental health crises.

Today, California’s youth are facing a historic mental health crisis that has been made worse by outdated standards and policies. Data show that since 2017, rates of anxiety and depression among California’s youth have shot up 70%, and one-third of California adolescents experienced severe psychological distress between 2019 and 2021.  This includes an alarming 20% increase in adolescent suicide rates.

“Delaying mental health care for vulnerable young people while they go through stressful life changes is completely unnecessary.  Counties should be able to conduct appropriate reviews to ensure their residents are eligible for services.  But we can meet both goals,” said Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar-Curry (D-Winters). “We cannot allow these young people to fall through the safety net and into the system because we let the process get in the way.  This bill will maintain care, improve communication between counties, and help reduce the burden on families trying to navigate complicated government systems to meet their children’s mental health needs.  We can save young lives with AB 2237.”

Under current state law, it takes an average of forty-five days for families with an understanding of the system and who immediately initiate the process to begin receiving Medi-Cal services. When moving to a new county, families must also re-establish eligibility for Medi-Cal services by doing a repetitive full intake and assessment, slowing mental health services for their children. Wait times for those in need frequently exceed three months for families new to the system.

"CBHA is proud to sponsor AB 2237 with Majority Leader Assemblywoman Aguiar-Curry,” said CEO Dr. Le Ondra Clark Harvey. “Our members serve the most vulnerable populations, including foster youth, and AB 2237 puts guardrails in place to protect youth from gaps as they transition from county to county. We commend the Majority Leader for her commitment to ensuring the underserved are served by promoting common-sense measures that will benefit youth and the behavioral health service systems that guide their care.”

AB 2237 preserves critical mental health coverage for vulnerable youth when they move across county lines — a stressful transition where mental healthcare is most critical. Specifically, when youth receiving specialty mental health services in one county move to a new county, the new county is required to provide continued specialty mental health services. At the same time, they conduct the required full intake and assessment.




In California, FQHCs (Federally Qualified Health Centers) and RHCs (Rural Health Centers) provide high quality, comprehensive care to 7.7 million people, representing roughly 1 in 5 Californians. More than one-third of the people served by FQHCs and RHCs rely on Medi-Cal.

The state's behavioral health needs are serious for adults, too, and have only grown as clinics have struggled to keep up with demand due to a shortage of mental health professionals. By 2028, California will have 41 percent fewer psychiatrists and 11 percent fewer psychologists, licensed marriage and family therapists, licensed professional clinical counselors, and licensed clinical social workers than needed. In rural counties alone, 33 of 40 rural counties were designated as having mental health professional shortages in 2021. These shortages decrease the quality of care and force existing staff to take longer shifts, see more clients, and inevitably burn out.

“We can solve two problems at once.  We have crisis-level staff shortages in rural and poor communities, and young professionals can’t find enough opportunities to meet their certification requirements,” said Assemblymember Aguiar-Curry.  “Psychological Associates can work in these settings with supervision, gain the training to be certified, and learn about the needs in these communities for mental and behavioral health services.  We can find common sense solutions to our problems.”

"CPA is proud to cosponsor AB 2703 with Majority Leader Assemblywoman Aguiar-Curry," said CEO Scott Parker. "Our member psychologists serve Californians in diverse settings, including within community health centers. AB 2703 will enhance access to care for low-income Californians by allowing community health centers to bill for services provided by psychological associates. We thank the Majority leader for her commitment to expanding access to Medi-Cal beneficiaries and the underserved, especially while California is facing a dire behavioral health workforce shortage and the needs within communities are unprecedented."

AB 2703 expands access to mental healthcare in FQHCs and RHCs by allowing Associate Psychologists to work in these clinics and for those clinics to be reimbursed for their services. To ensure quality of care, associates are registered with the Board of Psychology and supervised by a licensed psychologist.

“Community health centers are on the front lines of providing essential behavioral health services to underserved populations,” said CPCA Advocates President & CEO Francisco J. Silva, Esq. “More behavioral health professionals are needed in both urban and rural communities across this state. AB 2703 does just that by expanding access to mental healthcare to allow associate psychologists to serve community health center patients. Thank you to Assembly Member Cecilia Aguiar-Curry for her dedication to addressing behavioral needs for the communities that are often overlooked.”

AB 2237 and AB 2703 now head to the Senate.


Assemblymember Aguiar-Curry represents the 4th Assembly District, which includes all of Lake, Colusa, Napa, and Yolo Counties and part of Sonoma County.