By Catherine Potente
SACRAMENTO, CA – California will improve the way it handles addiction recovery if legislation authored by State Senator Dave Cortese is approved by the State Legislature here.
Senator Cortese introduced SB 999, the California Residential Substance Use Disorder Treatment Patient Safety and Fairness Act, this week that promises to ensure those in need of recovery treatments for substance use disorders and addiction get the critical treatment they need.
According to CBS’ 60 Minutes, patients in residential treatments are discharged early by health insurance companies despite concerns and objections made by physicians.
“Long-term care is often denied by insurance company doctors who never see the patient,” reported 60 Minutes. Early discharge of patients could lead to the patient’s possible relapse, which in turn, could lead to the patient’s death.
Senator Cortese charged in a statement, “California law requires that insurance companies cover treatment for addiction recovery, yet many are still denied the critical services they need to survive.”
Cortese said he determined to save lives with the new bill by eliminating the financial motivations that cause health insurance plans to deny critical treatments for patients.
According to statement about the legislation from Cortese, “SB 999 will ensure Californians suffering from substance use disorders and addiction are able to receive treatment that is consistent with criteria developed by the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), safeguard patient access to timely review decisions, and prohibit incentive-based treatment decisions.”
The new bill has amassed strong support across California.
Pete Nielsen, the President and CEO of the California Consortium of Addiction Programs and Professionals, expressed his opinion on the matter stating, “Denials, delays, and overriding treatment decisions for substance use disorder services cost Californians in terms of their health, family functioning, employment productivity, and sadly for some, their lives.”
The Chief Executive Officer of Summit Estate Recovery Center in Senate District 15, Sergei Vidov, is also in full support of SB 999.
“Residential substance use disorder facilities like ours, up and down the state of California, are finding it nearly impossible to provide our clients the meaningful tools they need to achieve and sustain long term sobriety. It is critical that our clients be able to focus on their disease in a safe environment and get back to a productive life in the workplace and restore healthy relationships with their friends and family,” said Vidov.