New CCAPP President Takes the Reigns in the “Wild West”
It is a simple goal: make treatment better in California. Achieving that goal in the state with the nation’s largest and most diverse addiction treatment system is where it gets less simple. Undaunted by the objective before her, Lori Newman, CADC-II, brings to her CCAPP presidency a defined set of objectives to move California forward on this mission. CCAPP’s nine-point plan, crafted by a strong executive committee and energetic board, sets the course for success during her presidency.
“Having a destination is key to arriving at one,” said Newman. “It gives us the ability to measure our progress at every step of the way and to stay on track in California’s sometimes chaotic environment,” she added.
Newman credits the consolidation of CAADAC and CAARR in 2014 for boosting the organization’s power in California. “We have been one organization for over a year now. Let’s take this opportunity to take a moment to really reflect on what that means,” stated Newman. She continued by saying,
We now have one incredible voice that was only made possible by our efforts to come together. Our voice can be heard across California. When we meet with legislators, we carry with us the entire treatment perspective; we speak with knowledge and with strength, but most importantly with experience, experience that can help policy makers make good decisions. It is our time to be proud of that knowledge and to share it wherever we can.
Newman is optimistic about the future of addiction treatment in the state and the potential for CCAPP members to affect change. “I know a lot of you and I’m not worried in the least that you won’t let your voices be heard. California has awakened to the need to expand and improve addiction treatment. Legislators need to hear from you because you have the knowledge to help them in making the goals of more and better treatment come to fruition,” she stated.
Furthermore, she sees strength in numbers for the organization as opportunity to reach goals that each organization had separately worked toward for years:
As a united organization we can create legislation, like SB 1101, which will finally license alcohol and drug abuse counselors like they are in other states. As a united organization, we will see that any legislation that attempts to kick treatment out of neighborhoods or seeks to keep people from maintaining their recovery is killed.
She continued by stressing that, “We are the solution, not the problem. We will continue to encourage this legislature and this administration to make the right choice when it comes to making treatment accessible, available and on demand.”
In addition to expanding the quality and quantity of addiction treatment in California, Newman draws an impenetrable line in the sand when it comes to taxing substances that contribute to addiction:
As a united organization, we will demand that the legalization of any new drug pays for its impacts on addiction. We fought and won the battle to earmark $650 million dollars of marijuana tax revenue to addiction treatment—without ever promising to support the initiative one way or the other. We are seeking to amend bills that call for the taxation of medical marijuana to make them pay their fair share as well. We are battling legislative budget subcommittee members to compel them to provide addiction treatment expansion monies to meet the growing demand for services created by the Affordable Care Act and California’s 1115 Waiver, and we are working tirelessly to raise reimbursement for treatment providers and raise wages for addiction counselors.
Newman’s hutzpah is backed by her board’s carefully constructed nine-point plan (see Figure 1).
Newman sees great progress being made as CCAPP heads for its mid-year mark for 2016. Bills CCAPP supports are progressing and those it opposes are failing. CCAPP’s licensure bill, SB 1101 (Wieckowski) passed its first policy committee on a sixteen to zero vote with favorable support from the addiction treatment community. Four bills aimed at addressing unregulated sober living environments in California were introduced this year. AB 2772 (Chang) failed April 19 in the Assembly Committee on Public Safety, receiving only a few votes, and SB 1283 (Bates) failed in the Senate Committee on Health on April 27. Two bills remain active in the Legislature: AB 2403 (Bloom) which CCAPP opposes and AB 2255 (Melendez) which CCAPP supports. CCAPP is advocating for legislators to approve legislation that encourages voluntary certification of recovery residences over mandatory restrictions that have proven to be contrary to the Americans with Disabilities Act and federal fair housing laws. “We take pride in offering workable solutions to improving sober living standards, rather than pitting local governments against legitimate providers,” said Newman.
CCAPP is also actively pursuing state grant funding for treatment capacity expansion throughout the continuum of care. Two bills of particular interest are AB 2243 (Wood) which proposes to tax medical marijuana and distribute the revenue to various state agencies, and AB 1915 (Santiago) which would create grants or loans for residential treatment centers which are expanding services. AB 1915 would establish the Residential Treatment Facility Expansion Fund, a continuously appropriated fund, and would transfer $120,000,000 from the General Fund to residential treatment. The bill was amended late and did not meet legislative deadlines for passage to the second house, but opportunities for inclusion in other bills still exist.
“I am pleased with the depth and breadth of our legislative program in just our second year of operation,” said Newman. “We are making tremendous inroads in multiple areas that are important to our members.”
In addition to a robust legislative program, Newman will be at the helm as the organization continues to increase its statewide presence. Plans for 2016 include:
- District trainings in ethics and test prep
- Executive roundtables in each district—the Chamber of Commerce of addiction treatment, so to speak, only better. This presents an opportunity for programs to meet and share recommendations and solutions; a place for CCAPP executives to turn ideas into action.
- Monthly teleconferences; the last Thursday of every month, CCAPP takes the pulse of its program members in an open conference call. This is a great venue to discuss hot topics across California.
- CCAPP representation at events across the state and the nation. From credentialing, to insurance reimbursement, to health integration, CCAPP is at the table for its members.
With plans in hand and the support of her board, Newman says that success can only be achieved with the enthusiasm and excitement of the members.
“All of you give me tremendous faith . . . tremendous faith that 2016 is going to be our best year ever,” said Newman.
CCAPP President, Lori Newman, CADC-II, has twelve years of experience in the alcohol and other drug field. Ms. Newman currently is the executive director of a private nonprofit company that operates a men’s twenty-one-bed residential social model facility and a women and women/children fifty-bed residential social model facility. Her experience in social model programs range from being a resident herself, an alumni, and professionally has been as a volunteer, counselor, and program manager in social model programs. Ms. Newman is currently a board member of the Merced County Alcohol/Drug Advisory Board, the California Association of Recovery Resources, and the Board for Certification of Addiction Specialists. Ms. Newman’s dedication and willingness to serve makes her a dynamic advocate for social model recovery.