VENTURA COUNTY: Proposes Prior Notification of Mental Health Funding Transfers
In response to criticism that erupted when mental health advocates learned of Ventura County's "practice of quietly transferring millions of dollars in mental health funding to other departments," county administrators are proposing to notify the county's mental health board before transfers are approved and conduct an economic analysis to prove transferred funds would be used effectively, the Los Angeles Times reports. The advance notice would offer mental health advocates an opportunity to protest funding shifts, which have resulted in $4 million in transferred mental health funds since 1991. Supervisors are expected to consider the proposal, which was drafted by county budget chief Bert Bigler, on May 25.
Bigger and Better Things
County mental health advocates are aiming for a second victory with the unveiling of a $4 million plan by Dr. David Gudemann, acting director of the Behavioral Health Department, that would construct housing for "destitute mentally ill adults" and increase "psychiatric services on county crisis teams." Funding, which remains nebulous, could tap into realignment money, and the Mental Health Board has already offered unanimous support for the plan. "Unless you identify these as policies to follow, the dollars will never exist," said John Flynn, a member of the board (Saillant, 5/18).