Mental Health Officials Announce Proposals for Overhauling State Care
The proposal outlines details of the establishment of the new Department of State Hospitals, which is expected to replace the Department of Mental Health next year.
The plan is part of a larger legislative effort to shift community mental health care responsibilities to county governments.
Details of Plan
The new department is designed to be a streamlined agency that will oversee California's five mental hospitals and psychiatric programs at two prisons (Romney, Los Angeles Times, 12/8).
The overhaul calls for eliminating about 600 state hospital positions, which would reduce the department's workforce by about 5% and save $173 million next year.
Kathy Gaither, acting chief deputy director of the Department of Mental Health, said that more than 50% of the positions proposed for elimination are vacant. She noted that workers affected by the changes can move to other jobs within the department.
Other proposed changes include:
- Higher staffing ratios for facilities with sicker and more aggressive patients, and lower ratios for hospital units with more stable patients (Siders, Sacramento Bee, 12/8);
- Altered treatment programs; and
- Stronger fiscal oversight.
The proposal is subject to union negotiations (Los Angeles Times, 12/8).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.