Health Care Funding at Issue for Counties Throughout California
El Dorado County
El Dorado County Mental Health is consolidating services it offers for adults in Placerville, the Sacramento Bee reports.
Christine Kondo-Lister, deputy director of the agency, said the move would provide more drop-in services and group therapy while cutting back on individual therapy (Locke, Sacramento Bee, 1/28).
On Tuesday, the Fresno County Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 to close its Crisis Intervention Services center for people with mental illnesses because of budgetary restrictions, the Fresno Bee reports.Â The center will remain open until June 29.
Closing the center will eliminate 45 jobs and cut county spending by about $2 million in the next fiscal year.
A mobile crisis unit will replace the center, and the county Behavioral Health Department plans to open a variety of services for the mentally ill using state and federal funds (Branan, Fresno Bee, 1/27).
Los Angeles County
Also on Tuesday, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 to approve $44.8 million in additional funding for private clinics that cater to the uninsured, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The county will release the funds over three years.Â The money will go toward:
- $35.5 million for services for new patients;
- $7.8 million for equipment and construction; and
- $1.5 million for a countywide electronic health record system.
The funds come on top of the $54 million that the county allocates to reimburse clinics for medical services (Hennessy-Fiske, Los Angeles Times, 1/28).
Representatives of not-for-profit clinics in Sacramento County are asking county officials to help them lobby the state for changes to the Medi-Cal managed care system in the county, the Sacramento Bee reports.
Medi-Cal is California's Medicaid program.
Clinic leaders maintain that the way Medi-Cal managed care is configured in Sacramento County has cut into the number of patients they see and their revenue by channeling more beneficiaries to private health care providers.
Other counties with Medi-Cal managed care plans have a public component that competes with one private plan designated to administer Medi-Cal benefits.Â
Lynn Frank, director of the Sacramento County Health and Human Services Department, said she does not have the authority to "bring any pressure on the state to change the way they do business here" (Caina Calvan, Sacramento Bee, 1/28).
San Diego County
On Tuesday, San Diego County supervisors weighed the prospect of going without $280 million in state funds for health and social service programs over the next eight months as Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) and state lawmakers work to address the budget deficit, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
The governor has proposed delaying state payments to counties until September, and state Controller John Chiang (D) has prepared a plan to delay payments for some services beginning on Feb. 1.Â Chiang's plan is intended to preserve cash only for 30 days (Gustafson, San Diego Union-Tribune, 1/28).
On Tuesday, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors delayed a vote on a series of budget cuts intended to avoid funding reductions to health care programs, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
Supervisors also delayed a vote to schedule a special election for June 2. Health care advocates, nurses and patients urged supervisors to schedule the election and ask voters to approve tax increases to help avoid cuts to health care programs.
San Francisco leaders are weighing options to address a projected $576 million budget deficit in the upcoming fiscal year.Â
Mayor Gavin Newsom and business leaders say labor unions should agree to concessions before asking voters to approve tax increases (Lagos, San Francisco Chronicle, 1/28).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.