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Saturday, June 15, 2024

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The Supreme Court throws out a Trump-era ban on gun bump stocks; a look at how social media algorithms and Shakespearian villains have in common; and states receive federal funding to clean up legacy mine pollution.

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The Supreme Court for now protects access to abortion drug mifepristone, while Senate Republicans block a bill protecting access to in-vitro fertilization. Wisconsin's Supreme Court bans mobile voting sites, and colleges deal with funding cuts as legislatures target diversity programs.

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As summer nears, America's newest and largest international dark sky sanctuary beckons, rural job growth is up, but full recovery remains elusive, rural Americans living in prison towns support a transition, while birth control is more readily available in rural areas.

CA bill would address unfair denials of youth mental health treatment

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Wednesday, May 29, 2024   

Children's advocates are pressing California lawmakers to pass a bill that would increase oversight on health plans when they deny mental health services for children. Right now, parents have to ask their health plan for a review when a child's mental health condition isn't covered by their insurance - and if service is still denied, they can ask the state for an independent medical review.

Lishaun Francis, senior director of behavioral health with the nonprofit Children Now, a sponsor of the bill, said this is a critical issue.

"This bill says if plans deny care for a Youth Mental Health Service, they have to automatically review that denial, as opposed to a parent calling and asking them to take a second look. If it is an emergency service, that review goes to the state automatically," she explained.

The California Association of Health Plans opposes the bill, arguing that the extra reviews could delay care and build more unnecessary costs into the health care system. Case stories posted on the state's Department of Managed Health Care website suggest the types of services most commonly denied by health plans include residential mental health treatment, and medication or surgery for gender dysmorphia.

Francis said when parents escalate their fight to an independent medical review, they often win.

"Almost 70% of all claims that make it to the state get overturned by the independent medical review process, which tells us a big chunk of this is something that health plans should actually be covering," she said.

Senate Bill 294 would also require the state to make public the number of independent medical review claims they receive each year, and how they were resolved. The bill has already passed the state Senate, and is now before the Assembly Committee on Health.

Disclosure: Children Now/KIDS COUNT contributes to our fund for reporting on Children's Issues, Youth Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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