Matsui Bill Could Help Sacramento County Mental Health Facilities
U.S. Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Calif.) recently introduced a bill (HR 5636) that wouldÂ increase Medicaid funding for facilities that offer community-based treatment for low-income residents with addiction and mental health disorders, the Sacramento Business Journal reports.
The Mental Health and Addictions Safety Net Equity Act could help behavioral health organizations and clinics in Sacramento County avoid closure and provide long-term financial stability, experts say.
Sacramento County, which faces a $17.5 million budget shortfall, intends to phase out its existing outpatient mental health services in the coming months and replace them with a new system. Some patients and consumer advocates are concerned about the how the changes could affect residents' access to care.
Matsui's measure would create a network of Federally Qualified Behavioral Health Centers across the nation and provide them with Medicaid reimbursements based on costs, rather than flat fees. The bill aims to improve access by increasing funding for care in underserved areas.
The legislation is unlikely to provide Sacramento County with immediate relief, as the bill still must secure congressional approval. In addition, clinics typically take at least two years to qualify for the federal program (Robertson, Sacramento Business Journal, 7/6).
Mental Health Cuts Creating Challenges in Sacramento County
Meanwhile, hospitals and police in Sacramento County are reporting more incidents involving residents with mental illness after recent county cutbacks to mental health services.County correctional facilities also have reported a significant increase in the number of inmates with mental health issues since service cuts began in 2009, according to a spokesperson for the county sheriff (Hubert, Sacramento Bee, 7/7). 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.