State Cuts in Mental Health Care ‘Particularly Onerous’ for Ventura County, Editorial Says
Cuts in state funding for mental health programs approved by Gov. Gray Davis (D) put a "particularly onerous" burden on Ventura County's behavioral health programs, a Ventura County Star editorial says. The county and state "have whacked" a combined $5.6 million from the county's Behavioral Health Department, the editorial states, adding that the Adult Systems of Care program is the "[h]ardest hit," the editorial states (Ventura County Star, 9/19 ). Davis earlier this month vetoed all state funding for the program, saying it is not accountable and lacks "measurable outcomes" (California Healthline, 9/18). In Ventura County, the program each quarter had helped 820 people find and keep "affordable, safe housing"; 530 people find "access [to] employment-related services"; and 1,435 people receive "face-to-face crisis assistance," the editorial states. The county has about 2,300 seriously ill residents, 1,100 of whom are homeless. By these figures, it "would appear that the Adult Systems of Care is amply taking care of the people it serves," the editorial notes. It is "unfortunate" that those who need mental health care the most have been "reduced to 'measurable outcomes' and 'cost savings'" by the budget cuts, the editorial says, noting that the county will have to ensure Davis knows about the program's benefits. The editorial concludes that because spending money upfront to assist people with mental illness "saves money in future costs," the recent reduction in mental health funding "will end up costing taxpayers much more down the road" (Ventura County Star, 9/19).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.