Mendocino County Mental Health Department Reduces Service Offerings To Address Deficit
In an effort to save $140,000 this year, the Mendocino County Mental Health Department has eliminated overnight stays and reduced the operating hours at its mental health crisis center in Ukiah, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat reports. The department faces a $1.7 million budget deficit this year, and if it does not make cuts, its debt will increase by another $586,000 by July, according to department Director Beth Martinez. In addition to cuts at the crisis center, the department plans to save $425,000 annually through employee furloughs and $95,000 annually through reductions in services to jail inmates. Martinez said that mental health departments statewide are making program cuts because of reductions in state funding and sales and vehicle license fee revenue. The department also is trying to adjust its budget to account for the rising cost of hospital stays for patients with mental illnesses, which in the last three years increased from $535 per patient per day to $800 per patient per day. On Friday, about two dozen mental health patients, advocates and county officials held a sit-in in Ukiah to protest the cuts to the crisis center. They argued that the number of patients who need hospitalization will increase as a result of the cuts, further driving up costs (Anderson, Santa Rosa Press Democrat, 4/19).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.