Sacramento County Supervisors Approve $5.4M Aid Package for County Mental Health Services
Sacramento County supervisors last week approved a $5.4 million aid package aimed at improving adult mental health services, the Sacramento Bee reports. A shortage of mental health providers, coupled with an increasing demand for services, has strained the emergency unit at the county's Mental Health Treatment Center. In October 2000, the unit lost its Medi-Cal eligibility for keeping patients longer then 23 hours, although it had no available beds. The newly approved aid package, which comes from a mix of state and federal funding, allocates $1.8 million to create 27 new positions for mental health providers, including 17 for the crisis center. The remaining $3.6 million will be given to private mental health providers to ease the burden on the county's emergency services. Thomas Sullivan, chief of the county's Mental Health Department, said that the emergency unit has 11 beds and is intended to care for up to 20 patients, but between 30 to 40 patients come to the center in need of emergency care each day. Approximately 80% of the center's patients are eligible for Medi-Cal, according to Sullivan. The crisis unit must reduce patient stays to less than 23 hours before it can regain Medi-Cal certification. If the new staff and increased funding fail to alleviate the problem, the county would lose $2.6 million in Medi-Cal reimbursement revenue (Davila, Sacramento Bee, 11/16).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.