Mental Health, Substance Abuse Services Face Cuts Under San Francisco Budget Proposal
San Francisco mental health programs, AIDS services and substance abuse programs will have to scale back or close under the city's $4.9 billion proposed fiscal year 2003-2004 budget plan now being debated by the city Board of Supervisors Budget Committee, the San Francisco Chronicle reports (Gordon, San Francisco Chronicle, 6/25). The board criticized Mayor Willie Brown's (D) proposed budget cuts earlier this month, specifically questioning his plan to cut funding for mental health residential treatment services, daytime treatment centers and other health services (California Healthline, 6/13). It remains unclear whether supervisors will approve a plan by Brown that would use $25 million in tobacco settlement funds that had been allocated to rebuild Laguna Honda Hospital to offset the city's $347 million budget deficit, the Chronicle reports. Former city attorney Louise Renne has said that she would sue the city if the settlement money does not go to the hospital project, but city officials said that the funding legally could be used without jeopardizing the hospital. Supervisor Chris Daly, chair of the budget committee, said committee members would work with the city budget analyst and might be able to restore as much as $15 million to programs slated for cutbacks. The budget committee is expected to approve a budget as early as Friday; the full board will begin considering it on July 15, with a final vote scheduled for July 22 (San Francisco Chronicle, 6/25).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.