Portantino’s Autism Treatment Bill Signed by Governor Newsom

Wednesday, October 11 2023

For Immediate Release: October 11, 2023

Contact: Lerna Shirinian, (818) 409-0400


Portantino’s Autism Treatment Bill Signed by Governor Newsom

Sacramento, California – Senate Bill 805, authored by Senator Anthony J. Portantino (D – Burbank), addresses a serious lapse in the type of autism treatment covered by insurance by expanding care options and modernizing workforce positions to provide better care for parents. The bill was signed into law by Governor Newsom.

“Early intervention and individualized care are key actions necessary for more successful autism treatment outcomes.  That’s why I authored this bill to expand insurance coverage of additional treatment options,” stated Senator Portantino. “The current system of care for individuals with autism includes essentially only one option and that’s insufficient. SB 805 provides parents choices to offer their children the best care available and I am grateful to Governor Newsom for supporting this issue.”

In 2011, SB 946 directed insurance companies in California to provide behavioral health treatment in a very narrow way. SB 805 corrects this limitation by including qualified providers who use all evidence-based forms of behavioral health treatments.

SB 805 also expands the criteria for a qualified autism service professional to include a behavioral health professional, a psychology associate, an associate marriage and family therapist, an associate clinical social worker, or an associate professional clinical counselor. In addition, the bill would expand the criteria for a qualified autism service paraprofessional to include a behavioral health paraprofessionals. These positions would then be available to provide all forms of evidence-based behavioral health therapy as long as they meet training and education qualifications.

"The DIR Floortime Coalition of California is very pleased that SB 805 has been signed by Governor Newsom,” stated Dr. Diane Cullinane, a developmental pediatrician from South Pasadena. “This legislation will allow families a choice in the type of behavioral health support for autistic children. We look forward to working with the Department of Developmental Services as the regulations are developed and the law is implemented. Ultimately, this will result in better futures for autistic individuals and build the precedent for the rest of the country regarding treatment options.”