On September 13th the San Mateo and Santa Clara County Psychological Associations sponsored a “meet and greet” with Assemblymember Richard Gordon, hosted by Lea Goldstein in her beautiful home in Portola Valley. We discussed many political and legislative issues with Assemblyman Gordon who was very receptive and favorable to our interests as an independent mental health profession. He spent 20 years working in the nonprofit sector where he founded and headed a community mental health clinic for at risk, mentally ill, and homeless youth and families. Formally called Youth and Family Enrichment Services and now called Star Vista, the clinic continues to serve consumers through a range of programs, including a few that began when he started the agency (Insights, Your House).
Assemblyman Gordan began his public sector service with the San Mateo County Board of Education and then went on to the County Board of Supervisors. Currently in the Assembly, among many duties, he has newly been appointed Chair of the Committee on Business, Professions and Consumer Protections, which oversees all of the professional licensing boards including our own. He mentioned that he would likely come across a number of matters and legislation having to do with psychologists’ practice in all areas including in the private practice arena.
Below is a list of the issues we addressed with Assemblyman Gordon. Let us know if you would like more details about his comments, which were by and large favorable to our interests:
- Ensuring that psychologists, as critical stakeholders, are on committees involved in designing new health care legislation
- Implications of the Affordable Health Care Act (e.g., group/hospital corporations versus private practice, reimbursement, ensuring consumer choices)
- MediCal – streamlining access to practitioners and reimbursement
- Conversion Therapy Bill (the Governor is expected to sign this by the end of the month)
- Psychologists being replaced by less expensive but less trained mental health professionals
- Evidence-based practice: psychiatry could try to make the unjustifiable case that medications alone are more effective both clinically and from a cost savings perspective
- Medicare and Seniors (e.g., retaining continuity with current providers while less expensive or new services become available)
- Psychologists in the State sector having a Department of Psychology instead of being under allied or irrelevant professional services
- Business Plan for Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services under the Department of Health Care Services (psychologists are well represented on the Project Team)
Here are some helpful links if you would like to know more about Assemblyman Gordon:
Assemblyman Gordon will hopefully be an advocate for psychologists and an important person for us to keep in contact with in Sacramento. Let us know if you have any questions or if you would like to participate in political advocacy through SMCPA and/or SCCPA.
Lea Goldstein, Ph.D. (President, SMCPA)
Evelyn Marchini, Ph.D. (Government Affairs Committee Chair, SMCPA)
Jeffrey Kline, Ph.D. (President, SCCPA)
Rubye Cervelli, Ph.D., (Government Affairs Committee Chair, SCCPA)