Sacramento, California, Sept. 28, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The Center for Autism and Related Disorders (CARD) welcomes Governor Newsom’s signing of California Bill AB 2581, a bill  sponsored by CARD and authored by Assemblymember Rudy Salas, which will increase access to mental health services by reducing credentialing delays.

As California seeks to make behavioral health treatment more broadly available, mental health professionals encounter significant delays when applying to become enrolled in a health plan’s network. CARD recognized that California was one of 25 states that did not limit the time that health plans had to complete an administrative process known as credentialing and worked with Assemblymember Salas to craft a bill to address this barrier to mental health services. The law, which will go into effect on January 1, 2023,  is the strongest in the nation and will increase access to autism services and other mental health services by limiting the time it takes for new providers to be credentialed by the health plans.

“AB 2581 helps increase access to mental health services that can significantly improve the lives of children and their families,” said Assemblymember Salas. “At a time when California is facing a mental health workforce shortage, AB 2581 will cut bureaucratic red tape so that qualified professionals can meet the community’s needs quicker. This bill will increase opportunities for families to receive the life changing care and services they need.”

In the past, CARD experienced firsthand extreme delays waiting for health plans to credential providers for their networks, with some plans taking up to six months or longer to process a completed application. During that time period, newly hired, qualified autism service providers cannot provide medically necessary treatment, creating delays in treatment that have been shown to significantly impact a child’s overall development.

“CARD is grateful to Assemblymember Salas and his staff for working to pass this important bill to increase access to mental health services by speeding up the credentialing process,” said CARD CEO Jennifer Webster. “CARD is committed to removing barriers to high-quality care and will continue to play a leading role across the country to improve access to treatment for the entire autism community.”

The labor challenges in mental health fields are well documented, and provider shortages have been exacerbated during the Public Health Emergency. As new providers become available through education and training or by moving to California from another state, this law will ensure that providers can quickly get to work delivering services that are in high demand throughout the state. This improved process will increase Californians’ access to mental health services and will help attract mental health professionals to the state as California launches its ambitious $4.7 billion initiative, Master Plan for Kids’ Mental Health.


About CARD:

CARD treats individuals of all ages diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) at treatment centers around the US. CARD was founded in 1990 and treats individuals with ASD using the principles of applied behavior analysis (ABA), which is empirically proven to be the most effective method for treating individuals with ASD and is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the US Surgeon General. CARD employs a dedicated team of trained professionals across the nation. For more information, visit

CONTACT: Media Inquires Center for Autism & Related Disorders - CARD® 4696941754