SAN DIEGO COUNTY: Managed Mental Health Program Showing Improvement
San Diego County Mental Health Director Sherry Harrison said last week that the private company running the county's $65 million-a- year managed mental health program is improving. United Behavioral Health was warned last month that if it didn't improve services its contract could be rescinded. But Harrison recently noted the company's improvement, saying, "If they continue in the direction they are now, certainly they can keep the contract." The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that UBH has reduced patient waiting times for services from six to two weeks, has "signed up more psychiatrists and is paying them more promptly." In addition, UBH has hired more employees to process payments to doctors. However, the company has not improved much in the area of enrolling Medi-Cal recipients, which would bring in increased revenue. Harrison said "we have not seen the increased revenues that we originally expected to see. I understand that we will see increased revenues in the future, but probably not as quickly as we had hoped" (Brooks, 1/2). Click here for past coverage of the county's move to privatize its mental health system.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.