Mental Health Department Misinterprets Law
Emergency regulations issued by the mental health department that "declare ... no money" from Proposition 63 -- the Mental Health Services Act, approved by voters in 2004 -- "can go toward involuntary outpatient care or inpatient hospital beds," are "plain wrong," Jim Randall, former president of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, Los Angeles County Coordinating Council, writes in a Los Angeles Times opinion piece. Proposition 63 did not create such restrictions, according to Randall.
Without "involuntary treatment, literally thousands of people will continue to be 'treated' in prisons and jails or left to fend for themselves in back alleys of our city streets," Randall writes. He adds, "There are also many people who need more intensive care that can only be delivered in a hospital-like setting."
According to Randall, the Department of Mental Health's interpretation of the law "offers nothing" to the "most ill among us, ... who deserve the most help" (Randall, Los Angeles Times, 3/12).