Statement by Sal Rosselli on Gov. Newsom’s plan to strengthen enforcement of state mental health parity rules

NewsJanuary 8, 2020

The following statement is from Sal Rosselli, president of the National Union of Health Care Workers (NUHW), the union which represents more than 4,500 Kaiser workers, including 3,600 mental health clinicians who are still without On behalf of NUHW members, we commend Governor Newsom for making access to mental health care a top priority in 2020.

In addition to issuing an executive order today opening vacant state land to emergency shelters for homeless people, the governor also announced major initiatives to strengthen enforcement of mental health parity laws and convene a Behavioral Health Task Force to “review existing policies and programs and coordinate system changes to prevent and respond to the impacts of mental illness and substance abuse in California.”

The mental health crisis in our state impacts residents at every economic level. Even people who have employer-sponsored private health plans, including Kaiser Permanente members in California, aren’t getting the mental health care for which they are paying and that they are legally entitled to receive.

NUHW members, including Kaiser psychologists, therapists and social workers — who last month protested outside the Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) during a 5-day statewide strike — have been advocating for stricter enforcement of parity laws and are ready to participate in upcoming efforts to improve access to care. Stronger enforcement by the DMHC of existing laws and regulations is the right place to start.

We appreciate that the governor has listened to our members and is ready to work with us and all stakeholders to make sure that all Californians can access timely, clinically appropriate mental health care.