Stanislaus County Mental Health Agency Under Fire
The Stanislaus County agency that provides services to mental health patients "is unable to perform the duties legally required by the state and is in noncompliance with court mandates," according to a report by the county's civil grand jury, the Modesto Bee reports.
The Stanislaus County Office of Public Guardian serves as a "substitute decision-maker" for mental health patients who do not receive assistance from family members or friends, according to the county.
The services provided by the agency, include:
- Handling financial affairs;
- Making medical decisions; and
- Ensuring that patients have food, clothing and shelter.
According to the grand jury report, most of the problems at the agency stem from a lack of funds and staffing cutbacks.
Revenue comes from county funds, fees from clients and Medi-Cal, California's Medicaid program. However, Medi-Cal reimbursement rates have declined, and limited staffing has reduced the office's ability to bill Medi-Cal, according to the report.
The report recommends that an independent auditing firm conduct performance and financial audits.
Debra Buckles, the county's public guardian, said she will prepare a formal response to the report (Moran, Modesto Bee, 6/19). 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.