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Published: August 2, 2021

CAFP Urges DHCS to Include Family Physicians in New Behavioral Health Benefit

The 2021-22 State Budget and trailer bill that Governor Newsom recently signed into law includes the addition of dyadic behavioral health visits as a covered benefit in the Medi-Cal program.  The new dyadic behavioral health benefit integrates physical and behavioral health screenings and services for the whole family.  It is a family- and caregiver-focused model of care intended to address developmental and behavioral health conditions of children as soon as they are identified.  It is also intended to improve access to preventive care for children; rates of immunization completion; coordination of care; child social-emotional health and safety; developmentally appropriate parenting; maternal mental health; and screenings for behavioral health problems, interpersonal safety, tobacco and substance misuse and social determinants of health.  Given that family physicians are unique in their breadth of knowledge and ability to provide high-value primary care to patients of all ages and with a range of physical, developmental, and behavioral health conditions, CAFP has urged the Department of Health Care Services to include family physicians in their efforts to expand behavioral health coverage in the Medi-Cal program, particularly ensuring family physicians are eligible to deliver these newly covered services.

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