1374.722.  (a)  The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(1)  All health care service plans are required to provide coverage for the diagnosis and medically necessary treatment of mental health and substance use disorders under the same terms and conditions applied to other medical conditions, as defined in state and federal law, including Sections 1374.72 and 1374.721 of this code and the federal Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 (Public Law 110-343).
(2)  Suicide rates in California increased by 225 percent between 1999 and 2016 for children 10 to 14 years of age.
(3)  Thirty-seven percent of
students with a mental health condition 14 years of age and older drop out of school. Pupils with emotional disturbances have the highest increase in absenteeism and dropout rates when compared to any other disability.
(4)  Seventy percent of youth arrested each year have a mental health disorder.
(5)  None of the health care service plans in California provide covered children with adequate access to in-network mental health providers.
(6)  Meanwhile, children are 21 times more likely to get the health and mental health services they need if services are provided on a school campus. School-based services increase access to qualified mental health care professionals and decrease the stigma around receiving mental health services.
(7)  By failing to meet
the mental health needs of children, health care service plans are passing the responsibility and cost of medically necessary mental health services on to local educational agencies (LEAs) in violation of their obligations under state and federal law.
(b)  To ensure timely access to behavioral health interventions at the earliest onset of a behavioral health condition, an appropriate mental health professional as described in Sections 49422 and 49424 of the Education Code and Chapters 13 (commencing with Section 4980), 14 (commencing with Section 4991), and 16 (commencing with Section 4999.10) of Division 2 of the Business and Professions Code, may provide brief initial interventions when necessary for all referred pupils, including pupils who are enrollees of a health care service plan contract.
(c)  Brief initial interventions, for purposes of this article, consist of Medi-Cal
covered behavioral health services that are essential health benefits, as defined in state and federal law, including Section 1300.67.005 of Title 28 of the California Code of Regulations, Sections 1374.72 and 1374.721, and the federal Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 (Public Law 110-343), and include, but are not limited to, mental health and substance use disorder services specified in California   s essential health benefits benchmark plan.
(d)  (1)  For pupils who are enrollees of a health care service plan contract, the mental health professional or their designee may contact the plan upon initiating the brief initial intervention services described in subdivision (b) to facilitate a referral to the health care service plan   s network providers, as appropriate and consistent with professionally recognized standards of practice, and in consultation with the pupil and their parent or guardian, in
compliance with all applicable state and federal laws protecting a pupil   s right to privacy and parental rights.
(2)  If a health care service plan is unable to meet timely and geographic access standards for care delivery required by state law, as defined by Section 1300.67.2.2 and Section 1300.51 of Title 28 of the California Code of Regulations, the mental health professional may complete the brief initial intervention services. If a health care service plan cannot meet timely access standards for care delivery for mental health services beyond the brief initial intervention services, the health care service plan and the LEA shall negotiate a single case agreement to determine reimbursement for additional services.
(A)  A health care service plan shall reimburse services provided to pupils by the mental health professional at the rate required by state and federal law for
(B)  A health care service plan shall meet requirements for the timely payment of claims for a contracted provider. If the health care service plan disputes the services provided or the amount, the health care service plan may submit a dispute to the Department of Managed Health Care, but shall still comply with requirements for timely payment, including for services or amounts in dispute.
(3)  If a health care service plan can meet timely and geographic access standards for care delivery required by state law, as defined by Section 1300.67.2.2 and Section 1300.51 of Title 28 of the California Code of Regulations, the mental health professional shall make a referral to the plan   s provider.
(d)  Pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1374.72, a health care service plan shall not limit benefits or
reimbursement for medically necessary services provided pursuant to this section on the basis that those services should be or could be covered by a public entitlement program, including, but not limited to, special education or an individualized education program, Medi-Cal, Medicare, Supplemental Security Income, or Social Security Disability Insurance.
(e)  A health care service plan is encouraged to contract with LEAs to serve pupils who are receiving mental health services pursuant to this section.
(f)  This section does not apply to a contract with a county mental health plan contracted with the State Department of Health Care Services pursuant to Chapter 8.9 (commencing with Section 14700) of Part 3 of Division 9 of the Welfare and Institutions Code.