Ventura County Officials Commission Study of Behavioral Health Department, Evaluation of Director
The Ventura County Board of Supervisors yesterday commissioned a study to determine whether the board should shift control of the county Behavioral Health Department to County Executive Officer Johnny Johnston, the Los Angeles Times reports (Saillant, Los Angeles Times, 4/17). The board yesterday also ordered Johnston to evaluate the performance of Dr. David Gudeman, the "embattled" director of the department. The Star reports that Gudeman has had a number of disputes with other county agencies over whether the behavioral health department should provide mental health care to children in the county's juvenile justice system. Gudeman and Pierre Durand, director of the county Health Care Agency, which administers the behavioral health department, did not comment on the supervisors' move (Koehler, Ventura County Star, 4/17). County Supervisor Judy Mikels "lashed out" at Durand and accused him of "running the county's medical system as a fiefdom with little public accountability." She said that Health Care Agency officials "do not believe they have to report to the Board of Supervisors" and "do not believe the Board of Supervisors makes policy." Johnston said that he will make recommendations about Gudeman next week and release a report on the county behavioral health department next month (Los Angeles Times, 4/17).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.