Sacramento County Reaches Interim Pact on Mental Health Services
Sacramento County recently reached an interim agreement with legal groups that had sued the county over planned cuts to outpatient mental health services, the Sacramento Bee reports (Lewis, Sacramento Bee, 11/17).
Planned Budget Cuts
Sacramento County faces a budget deficit of $17.5 million for mental health services. To address the shortfall, officials proposed a plan to shift about 5,000 patients with mental health issues from contractor-run Regional Support Teams to new county-operated wellness centers.
The move originally was slated to take place by Nov. 1, but now is on hold until litigation is complete (Robertson, Sacramento Business Journal, 11/16).
In May, plaintiffs represented by Disability Rights California, the Western Center on Law and Poverty and the law firm Cooley filed a lawsuit against the county seeking to block the planned mental health changes.
In July, a judge issued a preliminary injunction to halt the cuts.
In the interim pact, the legal groups agreed on behalf of their plaintiffs to suspend the lawsuit against the county, at least temporarily.
In exchange, the county agreed not to close its Regional Support Teams until the fiscal year ends. The county also said it plans to hire an independent expert to evaluate the county's existing mental health system and make recommendations.
As a result of the agreement, current mental health services are expected to continue at least through June 30, 2011 (Sacramento Bee, 11/17).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.